Missing subtags 003 and 172

Doug Ewell doug at ewellic.org
Fri Jul 30 20:54:45 CEST 2010

Michael Everson <everson at evertype dot com> wrote:

> CLDR is really important. CLDR is the basis for locale choices in the
> Mac OS, which, as you may know, I admire. I am given to understand
> that it has some currency in Linux as well, and beyond that I don't
> know.

I don't question that CLDR is important.  So is the DNS.  But BCP 47 is
a framework for language tagging, not for locales in general.  Not every
situation that applies to locales also applies to language tagging.

There is an RFC coming down the pike which will allow many CLDR
locale-specific considerations to be captured in BCP 47 language tags
via extension subtags, which is the proper way for them to be captured. 
I'm not saying "Russian as used in the Commonwealth of Independent
States," whatever that means, should require an extension subtag.  I'm
saying that if CLDR is going to claim to conform to BCP 47 instead of
going off and defining its own rules, as a framework of its importance
might well do, that should not cause BCP 47 to be twisted and pulled in
inappropriate directions.  This already happened once with EU.

>> No, I don't. On the contrary, I don't think it is obvious that these should be "fixed."
> Why not? Be specific.

I did.  003 is not listed along with other supranational code elements,
but in a footnote.  I claim this was intentional on the part of UNSD and
that, as for EU, the need to express this particular semantic in
language tags is not acute enough to justify special dispensation.  And
172 is a purely economic categorization as defined by UNSD, perhaps even
less stable in its membership than the European Union, and adds nothing
at all to language tagging.

I confess I don't have a purchased copy of the UNSD standard.  If the
actual standard does show 003 as a geographical code element on a par
with the others, as Addison says it may be, I'll happily drop my
objection to this one.

>> What I really think is that we should follow the rules we created.
> It is difficult, quite honestly, how rigidity here serves the users of our subtags, though. So you should make a genuine case.

Once we become comfortable with changing or breaking the rules of BCP 47
to suit our own ad-hoc needs, it will be difficult to tell when to stop,
or to justify to outside requesters why we are not inclined to register,
say, 199 for "least developed countries" or GC for "Patent Office of the
Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf."

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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