Doug Ewell doug at
Wed Jun 16 19:26:37 CEST 2010

Leif Halvard Silli <xn dash dash mlform dash iua at xn dash dash mlform
dash iua dot no> wrote:

> However, the reason why I question whether it is correct to consider
> 'sh' a macrolanguage, is based on the understanding that
> 'Serbo-Croatian' refers to (1) - the standardized Neo-Shtokavian
> form(s). It may still be correct consider it a macrolanguage - I don't
> know - but it doesn't fit my understanding of how 'macrolanguage'
> should be used.
>   [...]
>> To conclude, all four standards (Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian and
>> Montenegrin) have one language system (paradoxically, with
>> Montenegrin as the most distant of those) and, linguistically
>> speaking, it is not a macrolanguage, but a language.
> Hence, the the Language Subtag Registry is currently incorrect, it
> seems to me.

The Language Subtag Registry does not make this determination.  As
explained in RFC 5646, Section 3.1.11, the Scope field in the Registry
is entirely dictated by the classification of the corresponding language
code element in ISO 639.  The Registry says 'sh' is a macrolanguage
because, and only because, ISO 639-3 says the corresponding code element
'hbs' is a macrolanguage.

Furthermore, the term "macrolanguage" in RFC 5646 is defined by direct
reference to ISO 639-3.  A macrolanguage is exactly what ISO 639-3 says
it is, no more, no less.

Hence, if this is a crusade to be fought, it needs to be fought in the
context of ISO 639 and not the Registry.

Doug Ewell | Thornton, Colorado, USA |
RFC 5645, 4645, UTN #14 | ietf-languages @ is dot gd slash 2kf0s ­

More information about the Ietf-languages mailing list