Correction for pinyin

Peter Constable petercon at
Tue Mar 9 23:14:00 CET 2010

I’m in agreement.


From: ietf-languages-bounces at [mailto:ietf-languages-bounces at] On Behalf Of Mark Davis ?
Sent: Tuesday, March 09, 2010 9:24 AM
To: Doug Ewell
Cc: ietf-languages at
Subject: Re: Correction for pinyin

Comments is fine; and if in a comment, then it might as well be the longer form.

> But a great many languages have names (including ISO 639...

And we should add comments to that where we find them.

We can't be defensive about this. If people are confused, it's best not to just respond by saying that they should have researched the issue (although a lot of programmers take that point of view with UI design!!). It is best to help to reduce the confusion, and we have tools to do that.

Your proposed record looks good. (And no need to call it "submitted somewhat defensively" - it looks well done.)


On Tue, Mar 9, 2010 at 07:11, Doug Ewell <doug at<mailto:doug at>> wrote:
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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