Variant subtag proposals for Romansh

Philip Newton philip.newton at
Sun Jun 13 09:28:32 CEST 2010

On Sun, Jun 13, 2010 at 4:04 AM, John Cowan <cowan at> wrote:
> Philip Newton scripsit:
>>       Type: variant
>>       Subtag: rumgr
>>       Description: Rumantsch Grischun
>>       Prefix: rm
>>       Comments: Supraregional Romansh written standard
> Any reason not to use 'grischun' as the subtag?

Yes: the Lia Rumantscha didn't like it.

"grischun" was my first idea as well; it seemed the obvious thing to use.

The first response I got was that "'grischun' is never used and is unclear".

Initially, they also didn't want a subtag for it at all since "the
standard 'rumantsch grischun' is the supraregional variant and must be
'rm'. Rumantsch grischun is also the official variant in the canton
Graubünden and for the Confederation. Rumantsch grischun must not,
therefore, be treated as a sub-variant of Romansh".

Then I explained that "rm" cannot stand for RG specifically, though of
course RG texts can be tagged "rm" just as, for example, Swiss
standard German texts can be tagged "de" -- but that it may,
occasionally, be desirable to differentiate, say, a surmiran text and
a RG one, and having them be rm-surmiran and rm would make this

This seemed to be accepted; at any rate, the next message I got, after
my correspondent have conferred with her internal experts, contained
"our definitive proposals for the abbreviations", one of which was

It's not what I would have preferred, perhaps, but it's unique and
would serve the purpose, I expect.

Also, I can hardly complain, since I countered the "never used and
unclear" argument with the fact that these subtags are typically
technical details which the general public will not see anyway, so the
exact shape of them, after mangling them into the 5-8 character limit,
for example, is not that important.

And finally, there wouldn't have been much point in my conferring with
the LR if I wasn't prepared to accept their suggestions/vetos/ideas,
so I went with what they suggested.

Philip Newton <philip.newton at>

More information about the Ietf-languages mailing list