Language Variant subtags

Philip Newton philip.newton at
Mon Jul 5 11:25:20 CEST 2010

On Tue, Jun 15, 2010 at 19:42, Peter Scharf <peter_scharf at> wrote:
> I would like to submit the following four language subtag registration forms
> to register standard tags for recognized dialects of Sanskrit.  I assume
> these would be used in an xml:lang attribute as follows:
> xml:lang="sa-Deva-ve" = Sanskrit in Devanagari script, in the Vedic dialect.
> xml:lang="sa-Deva-cl" = Sanskrit in Devanagari script, in the Classical
> dialect.
> xml:lang="sa-Deva-ep" = Sanskrit in Devanagari script, in the Epic dialect.
> xml:lang="sa-Deva-bu" = Sanskrit in Devanagari script, in the Buddhist
> dialect.

You would only need to include -Deva- if you want to be explicit that
the language is written with Devanagari script; it may be possible to
omit it. (In my experience, Sanskrit is nearly always written in
Devanagari script, at least in Europe; I'm guessing the situation in
the US will be similar.)

> Please let me know if the following forms are not correctly filled in.

Variant subtags that begin with a letter must be between five and
eight (inclusive) characters long, so "ve, cl, ep, bu" are not valid
variant subtags. (They would be valid language subtags, and indeed ve
= Venda.) See RFC 5646 section 2.2.5 subsection 4 paragraph 1 (minimum
length 5 for variant subtags beginning with a letter), RFC 5646
section 2.1 (maximum length 8 for all subtags).

Also, you want "Prefix: sa" rather than "Macrolanguage: sa" (you're
proposing variant subtags, not language or extlang subtags).

Also, all records must contain a "Description" field; your proposals
left that field blank, except for "cl", where the description is
"Classical", which is (in my opinion) not enough to identify the
subtag. (The comments you left for "Intended meaning of the tag:"
might work for the "Description" fields.)

Philip Newton
Philip Newton <philip.newton at>

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