Language Variant subtags

Doug Ewell doug at
Mon Jul 5 19:39:06 CEST 2010

John Cowan <cowan at mercury dot ccil dot org> wrote:

>> [V]ariant subtags in the Registry should have the same meaning for 
>> any language to which they are applied.  This works for "written in 
>> IPA" or "written in the Unified Turkic Alphabet," but doesn't work 
>> for, say, "classical Sanskrit" versus "classical Latin."
> I'm not so sure.  "Classical" has the same sense in both cases: the 
> traditional form which persevered for a long time in writing long 
> after it was disused as speech.  Likewise "classical Tamil", 
> "classical Arabic", Greek, Gaelic, etc. etc.

True, there is a fairly strong sense of "classical X" for numerous 
languages X, just as there is a reasonably strong sense of "northern X" 
for languages spoken in the northern part of whatever region X is 
spoken.  But I thought we had traditionally tried to stay away from that 
type of generic subtag unless the meaning was practically identical. 
Does the qualifier "classical" really mean the same thing in "classical 
Sanskrit" and "classical Latin"?  Maybe it does, but the question needs 
to be asked with an eye toward the reasons we have shunned 'northern' 
and friends.

Philip Newton <philip dot newton at gmail dot com> wrote:

>> In fact, 'vedic' and 'epic' and 'buddhist' might work as subtag 
>> values for three of these proposals.
> "epic" would not; it would be a (non-canonically-cased) script tag, 
> since it has four letters.

Of course.  Thank you.

Michael Everson <everson at evertype dot com> wrote:

> I wonder if there are Sanskrit terms for these four types that would 
> be suitable.

Or at the very least, for "classical."

Peter Scharf <peter underscore scharf at brown dot edu> wrote:

> In India Sanskrit is written in any of the regional scripts of India 
> as well as in Roman script (Latn) elsewhere in the world, so the 
> script tag is not dispensable.

The script subtag is not dispensable in those cases where it is 
necessary, for whatever reason, to specify the script as part of the 
tag.  That is sometimes the case, but not always.

sa-vedic = Sanskrit, Vedic dialect, script unspecified, could be 
Devanagari or other
sa-Deva-vedic = Sanskrit, Vedic dialect, Devanagari script

Doug Ewell | Thornton, Colorado, USA |
RFC 5645, 4645, UTN #14 | ietf-languages @ is dot gd slash 2kf0s ­

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