Correction for pinyin

Mark Davis ☕ mark at
Tue Mar 9 15:51:47 CET 2010

The main goal of the Description is not to completely *describe* the
language tag; instead, it is to *distinguish* it from other tags with which
it could be confused.

So given that it is a quite natural mistake to think that the term "Pinyin"
means what 99% of those knowing the word think it means (applying to over a
billion people), rather than the minute fraction of a percent who would
realize that it means something quite different (applying to 27K people), we
owe it to readers to be quite clear about this.

What you suggest is probably adequate, but we might go so far as:

Pinyin (a Niger-Congo language spoken in Cameroon)


On Tue, Mar 9, 2010 at 05:15, Doug Ewell <doug at> wrote:

> Mark Davis ⌛ <mark at macchiato dot com> wrote:
> > A few people have stumbled over this; it might be useful to add a note
> > in the Description, if anyone's up for submitting a form.
> So we would have:
> Description: Pinyin (Cameroon)
> or similar.  I think a better approach in this case would be to add a
> Comments field, something like "Spoken in Cameroon."  This would avoid
> setting a precedent for adding encyclopedic information to the
> Description, and would probably be more satisfactory to those who feel
> the Description needs to match the ISO 639 name exactly.
> It would have been easy enough to check 'pny' against ISO 639-3 or
> Ethnologue, instead of assuming that we or the RA don't know the
> difference between a language and a transcription system.
> --
> Doug Ewell  |  Thornton, Colorado, USA  |
> RFC 5645, 4645, UTN #14  |  ietf-languages @ ­
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