Correction for pinyin

Doug Ewell doug at
Tue Mar 9 16:11:51 CET 2010

Mark Davis ☕ wrote:

> 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.

Of course.  But a great many languages have names (including ISO 639 
names and Description fields) which could potentially be confused with 

> 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.

I don't dispute that, but I also think most users of the Registry (and 
for that matter ISO 639), when they see an entry that puzzles them, 
might find out from a neutral standpoint what it means, rather than 
assuming the standards organization is clueless.  The RA really does 
understand that a transcription scheme is not a language.

> What you suggest is probably adequate, but we might go so far as:
> Pinyin (a Niger-Congo language spoken in Cameroon)

Just to be clear for all, you support putting this information in the 
Description, while I support putting it in a Comments field.

Doug Ewell  |  Thornton, Colorado, USA  |
RFC 5645, 4645, UTN #14  |  ietf-languages @ ­

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