Full-sentence Description fields

Phillips, Addison addison at lab126.com
Fri Oct 1 20:07:25 CEST 2010

> > Mark Davis <mark at macchiato dot com> wrote:
> >
> >>      Subtag:
> >> vowels
> >>      Description:
> >> Indicates that the content is an abjad, but that all optional
> vowel
> >> marks are included in the text.
> >
> >>      Subtag:
> >> fonxsamp
> >>      Description:
> >> Indicates that the content is transcribed according to X-SAMPA
> >
> >>      Subtag:
> >> respell
> >>      Description:
> >> Indicates a transcription of content based on a pronunciation
> >> respelling, such as "nāshən" for "nation"
> >
> > I would very much like to avoid complex, full-sentence
> Description
> > fields like these.  Description fields tend to work best when
> they are brief labels.

I agree with Doug and Mark. Full sentence descriptions want to be comments. BCP 47 does say something about it:

   The 'Description' field is used for identification purposes.
   Descriptions SHOULD contain all and only that information necessary
   to distinguish one subtag from others with which it might be
   confused.  They are not intended to provide general background
   information or to provide all possible alternate names or

The relevant part here is the "only". We only want to be able to distinguish the subtags, not completely define them. Whereas section 3.1.12 (comments) spells out why you want sentences there:

   The primary reason for the
   'Comments' field is subtag identification -- to help distinguish the
   subtag from others with which it might be confused as an aid to

> They don't bother me all that much, but if you could generate a
> list of what we do have it might be interesting to see.

Currently we have no sentences and thousands of labels. This is a Good Thing.


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