Language Variant subtags for Sanskrit

Mark Davis ☕ mark at
Tue Jul 13 23:28:04 CEST 2010

This is not a feature of BCP47, nor do I see any *practical* value in it,
beyond making tags hard to read.


— Il meglio è l’inimico del bene —

On Tue, Jul 13, 2010 at 11:59, Doug Ewell <doug at> wrote:

> Mark Davis 🍲 <mark at macchiato dot com> wrote:
> > I fail to understand why people think that obfuscation is a good thing...
> There will be a prefix for "classical" that completely disambiguates it.
> It's not a matter of obfuscation per se.  There is a long-standing
> principle that a given subtag should have the same meaning in any tag in
> which it appears, regardless of prefixes or other surrounding subtags.
> Variant subtags like 'western' or 'classic' violate this principle,
> because the relationship between "classical Sanskrit" and "Sanskrit" may
> be totally different from the relationship between "classical X" and "X"
> for any other language X.
> Contrast this with, say, "fr-fonipa" and "sa-fonipa", where the meaning
> of 'fonipa' is the same regardless of whether it is applied to French or
> Sanskrit.  Likewise "az-baku1926" and "tk-baku1926"; even if the exact
> implementation of Jaŋalif differed between Azerbaijani and Turkmen, the
> overall concept is the same.
> Region subtags don't follow this principle perfectly: the relationship
> between "en" and "en-CU" probably isn't the same as that between "es"
> and "es-CU".  But region subtags were established long before the BCP 47
> project (as such) got underway, and are already known to paint with too
> wide a brush at some times and too narrow a brush at other times.
> Variants are our invention, and we ought to follow our own principles
> and intentions with regard to them.
> --
> Doug Ewell | Thornton, Colorado, USA |
> RFC 5645, 4645, UTN #14 | ietf-languages @ is dot gd slash 2kf0s ­
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