Proposed new variant subtag: pre1917

Avram Lyon ajlyon at
Wed Sep 8 09:44:34 CEST 2010

2010/9/8 Philip Newton <philip.newton at>:
> Does that document describe the pre-1917 spelling? I would have
> thought that it describes the post-1917 spelling instead, so it
> wouldn't be so useful as a reference for the previous spelling.
> So, better would be one documenting "the Petrine orthographic reforms
> of 1708", which was presumably the spelling standard up to 1917.
> And the name might, perhaps, also better be something like "petrine"
> or "post1708" or something -- because if Peter changed the orthography
> in 1708, then presumably in (say) 1699, people used something
> different to the one you call "pre1917", even though 1699 is also
> "before 1917".

I also don't particularly like using the end date and ending document
to describe the orthography and for the subtag itself. The problem is
that there are additional orthographic changes in the 18th century,
after Peter's 1708 reforms, as some of the letters abolished in 1708
were re-added by the mid-1700s. Additionally, more letters fell into
disuse before 1917. The Omniglot page I linked to in my original
message has an accurate description of progression from the 1708
alphabet to today's Russian alphabet.

The December 1917 decree explicitly states what the old usage was and
what should replace it, so it is a sufficient description vis-a-vis
the current standard.

If it would be helpful, I can look into whether there are explicit
dates and standardizing documents that would break down the
orthographic reforms' progression from 1708 to 1917.

For my purposes, I really just need to be able to mark texts that use
the post-1917 orthography, but since that is the current orthography,
I can't very well insist that the tagging of all Russian texts
produced today employ a variant subtag.

Again, I look forward to your advice and to finding a suitable way to
tag this large volume of texts that cannot yet be satisfactorily



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