Missing subtags 003 and 172

Mark Davis ☕ mark at macchiato.com
Fri Jul 30 17:08:34 CEST 2010

We deliberately decided in the course of the BCP47 update to include all of
the codes except for the following.

       B.  UN numeric codes for 'economic groupings' or 'other
           groupings' MUST NOT be registered in the IANA registry and
           MUST NOT be used to form language tags.

We made 830 optional, specifically because it is somewhat deprecated by the
addition of the country codes for the islands instead. That is not the case
for 003 and 172; these are as or more useful than other region codes. There
are some other codes (like 062) that we can deprecate in CLDR, but not

At the time you made the update to add the other M.49 codes I had presumed
that they were included. It wasn't as if you raised the issue and we agreed.

Do you really think we should drag everyone through the pain of doing
another RFC just to fix these two codes?


*— Il meglio è l’inimico del bene —*

On Fri, Jul 30, 2010 at 06:45, Doug Ewell <doug at ewellic.org> wrote:

> Mark Davis ♔ <mark at macchiato dot com> wrote:
>  We found that there are 2 subtags that are missing from the registry.
>> %%
>> Type: region
>> Subtag: 003
>> Description: North America
>> %%
>> Type: region
>> Subtag: 172
>> Description: Commonwealth of Independent States
> There were detailed discussions on the LTRU list about these two UN M.49
> code elements, in separate threads, in March and April 2005. Unfortunately,
> the LTRU archives are not available in a batch-downloadable format as the
> ietf-languages archives are, so digging through this information is much
> more tedious than it could be.
> 003 (North America) is defined in a footnote as comprising 013 (Central
> America) plus 021 (Northern America) plus 029 (Caribbean).  RFC 4645 said
> that the code elements assigned to "macro-geographical (continental)"
> regions in M.49 were added, which is why 003 was not added; it did not
> appear in that category, but in a footnote, probably because it does not fit
> cleanly into the overall M.49 hierarchy.
> 172 (Commonwealth of Independent States) is an economic grouping, which is
> explicitly excluded in RFC 4645.  (We also didn't include things like 432
> (Landlocked developing countries) and 722 (Small island developing States).)
> RFC 5646, Section 2.2.4, items 4.A through 4.F set out the rules for which
> M.49 code elements are in or out.  See also RFC 5646, Section 3.4, item 16:
>  "UN M.49 has codes for both 'countries and areas' (such as '276' for
> Germany) and "geographical regions and sub-regions" (such as '150' for
> Europe).  UN M.49 country or area codes for which there is no corresponding
> ISO 3166-1 code MUST NOT be registered, except as a surrogate for an ISO
> 3166-1 code that is blocked from registration by an existing subtag."
> As it turned out, since the publication of RFC 4645 the LTRU WG decided to
> include EU (European Union) as a region subtag, despite any evidence of its
> usefulness for identifying language usage, because it was deemed desirable
> for use in CLDR locales.  (I assume that is who Mark means by "we.")  We
> even invented a new rule about admitting "exceptionally reserved" ISO 3166-1
> code elements just to allow EU.  So while the original decision to exclude
> 003 and 172 was based on the LTRU consensus in 2005 about which country
> codes were appropriate for language tagging and which were not, the
> subsequent rule change could be seen as calling this into question.
>  (Perhaps 432 and 722 are now seen as useful in language tags too!)
> As has been the case since the publication of RFC 4646, we can register
> subtags based on the external standards only if something has changed about
> their status in the external standard.  We cannot simply decide we want to
> change the rules and allow previously excluded values.  So if Mark wants to
> permit the use of 003 and 172 in BCP 47 language tags, this amendment needs
> to appear in an RFC.
> --
> Doug Ewell | Thornton, Colorado, USA | http://www.ewellic.org
> RFC 5645, 4645, UTN #14 | ietf-languages @ is dot gd slash 2kf0s ­
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