Proposed new variant subtag: pre1917

Doug Ewell doug at
Tue Sep 14 16:39:05 CEST 2010

Yury Tarasievich <yury dot tarasievich at gmail dot com> wrote:

>>> I feel like those 'shakhmat' and 'grazhd' would occur quite
>>> incomprehensible. Wouldn't "-peter" and "-1918" go better?

Actually, what was being proposed was 'grazhdan', which might be
somewhat more comprehensible (or at least easier to pronounce) than

>> These are protocol elements, not UI strings. Anybody dealing with
>> the protocol elements should be used to subtags being less than
>> fully "comprehensible".
> Like, not completely true, in the light of what 
> I was witnessing in this group.

Peter is correct, but Yury makes an excellent point.  We (myself
certainly included) do spend a lot of time debating the exact sequence
of letters and digits to be used in the subtags that we register.  What
is most important is the semantic meaning associated with the subtags,
and making sure we satisfy the requester's expressed needs.

Ultimately, if we want a variant that refers to "Russian as written
according to Peter I's reformed orthography," it makes little or no
difference if the subtag is 'peter' or 'petrine' or 'grazhdan' or
(arguably) even '1708'.

I do agree with the objections to the now-withdrawn 'pre1917' that
subtag values should reflect what they represent, not what they don't
represent.  That is not simply a matter of form, but of expressing the
wrong semantic.

I still prefer to avoid year-number subtags like '1708' unless the
language variety in question is primarily known that way.  But I should
probably steer clear of the "cryptic" argument in the future, and focus
more on the likelihood of ill-informed users applying such a subtag
indiscriminately to refer to "any old language as spoken around the 1708
time frame."  At least that is more defensibly a matter of making the
semantics clear.

Avram, what are your preferences for the subtag values under discussion,
and are your needs met by having two variant subtags, one for the period
1708 to 1917 (or 1918) and another for 1917 (or 1918) to the present?

Doug Ewell | Thornton, Colorado, USA |
RFC 5645, 4645, UTN #14 | ietf-languages @ is dot gd slash 2kf0s ­

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