Language Variant subtags

Peter Constable petercon at
Fri Jul 9 19:12:48 CEST 2010

Not so simple: "classical" may potentially be used in a language name to identify a historic predecessor of a modern language. E.g., "Classical Newari" (nwc); "Classical Syriac" (syc). Using "classical" as a generic variant will cause confusion as to whether a variety should be treated as a variant or as a distinct language.


-----Original Message-----
From: ietf-languages-bounces at [mailto:ietf-languages-bounces at] On Behalf Of John Cowan
Sent: Monday, July 05, 2010 9:19 AM
To: ietf-languages at
Subject: Re: Language Variant subtags

Doug Ewell scripsit:

> [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.

If I read "upcoming" in [the newspaper]              John Cowan
once more, I will be downcoming            
and somebody will be outgoing.                       cowan at
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