Request of new variant subtag for kichwa (inside qu)

Peter Constable petercon at
Tue Jun 14 17:01:34 CEST 2011

Is there a real use case for this subtag that you anticipate? Who will make use of it and how? (Simply tagging some content using the subtag isn't interesting unless there's some user or process that will be filtering for it.)


-----Original Message-----
From: ietf-languages-bounces at [mailto:ietf-languages-bounces at] On Behalf Of mailler at
Sent: Tuesday, June 14, 2011 2:41 AM
To: ietf-languages at
Subject: Re: Request of new variant subtag for kichwa (inside qu)

> If it's a variant, that would be on the basis then this basically 
> designates an orthography, and in that case I agree with John that the 
> applicable individual language subtags are probably better prefixes 
> than the macrolanguage subtag (though perhaps the latter could also be 
> listed as a valid prefix).

Hello again,

In my opinion and following these arguments, I think the best thing is to consider a -kichwa subtag applying to individual language subtags but also to the macrolanguage tag (since a kichwa translation of the Constitution of Ecuador as well as a kichwa section on the website of the National Assembly of Ecuador is available and these are obviously not intended to be in a particular regional dialect (at least it is not mentioned anywhere).

This does not prevent to submit later a request for a new language when the language is more consolidated (reference publications have only 1-2 years, the Unified Basque needed 30 to be recognized by SIL and I tend to think this is fair because language dynamics are something slow and heavy, I think that just the orthographic tag is a good first step).

Following the recent reactions and arguments provided,  I would like to precise the request as :
* a -kichwa variant subtag to denote the Unified kichwa orthography as described in the dictionary I linked in the original request
* that this subtag may be applied to all regional dialects of quechua spoken in Ecuador, namely :
Quichua, Calderón Highland  [qud] (Ecuador) Quichua, Cañar Highland  [qxr] (Ecuador) Quichua, Chimborazo Highland  [qug] (Ecuador) Quichua, Imbabura Highland  [qvi] (Ecuador) Quichua, Loja Highland  [qvj] (Ecuador) Quichua, Northern Pastaza  [qvz] (Ecuador) Quichua, Salasaca Highland  [qxl] (Ecuador) Quichua, Tena Lowland  [quw] (Ecuador) These q..-kichwa codes could be applied to traditional material coming from a definite region (folk tales etc.) if the person putting them online chooses to use the unified orthography - up to now the number of pages using these tags would be extremely reduced as far as I know but this makes sense from a logical point of view.
* That this subtag may be applied directly to the macrolanguage qu for publications that do not intend to be written in a particular dialect (e.g. Constitution, National Assembly publications, CODENPE publications, wikipedia in kichwa). The interpretation of the Ecuadorian govt, bilingual education system and indigenous organisations is that these dialects/languages have sufficient interintelligibility to allow publications that do not state a particular regional variant.

If it becomes justified later, one may request a ISO code if it becomes clear that a unified version of kichwa has succeeded in coming in widespread use in Ecuador.


Sylvain Mailler

> Peter
> -----Original Message-----
> From: ietf-languages-bounces at
> [mailto:ietf-languages-bounces at] On Behalf Of 
> mailler at
> Sent: Thursday, June 09, 2011 4:17 AM
> To: ietf-languages at
> Subject: Re: Ietf-languages Digest, Vol 101, Issue 4
>> Date: Wed, 08 Jun 2011 14:52:58 +0200
>> From: Kent Karlsson <kent.karlsson14 at>
>> However I could find nothing on it either by searching or else where 
>> I found primitive Irish, at 
> Hello,
> Here is a link to a discussion referring to the request, even though 
> from the discussion it is not clear whether there has been a formal 
> request or the request has stopped after a preliminar discussion :
> "After talking to SIL about what would be the correct code, we ended 
> on qu_EC since no new language codes will be assigned for reasons of 
> new dialects, orthograpies or similar less important changes."
>> From: John Cowan <cowan at>
>> mailler at scripsit:
>>> I read that an ISO 639-3 code for Unified kichwa has already been 
>>> rejected by SIL, I do not know when or on which ground, I was not 
>>> filing the request myself. Possibly, the request was filed the 
>>> existing literature was not sufficient (the main books describing 
>>> the language are from 2009-2010).
>> That sounds like it was an ISO *639-2* request.  I think a 639-3 
>> request might be looked on more favorably.
>>From the discussion I cite above at, it seems that a  
>>request or at least questions have been made to the SIL with the goal 
>>of  requesting a ISO 639-3 code, and that the SIL said there were no  
>>prospects that the request is successful on the grounds that "no new  
>>language codes will be assigned for reasons of new dialects, 
>>orthograpies  or similar less important changes"
>> From: John Cowan <cowan at>
>> Here are the SIL/ISO standard criteria for defining languages:
>> * Two related varieties are normally considered varieties of the same
>>   language if speakers of each variety have inherent understanding of
>>   the other variety at a functional level (that is, can understand based
>>   on knowledge of their own variety without needing to learn the other
>>   variety).
> I had oral confirmation of that point from a kichwa speaker from the 
> Lowlands who told me that he was able (with some discomfort) to talk 
> to a highland speaker, and from Imbabura speakers (northern highlands) 
> who said they were able to communicate in kichwa with people from the 
> Chimborazo highlands even though it is considered three different 
> languages by SIL. I would compare situation of the kichwa variants 
> inside Ecuador to Occitan in France and neighbouring countries where 
> speakers from distant places are more or less able to understand each 
> other but with a high degree of discomfort (Occitan is considered a single language by SIL).
> Interestingly, a comparable merging process seems to have occured 
> massively in 2008 for Mexican/Cantral american languages (Cakchiquel - 
> 9 codes merged -, Quiché - 5 codes merged - and others) in 2008 :
> .pdf
> I think that, arguably, the kichwa variants may be merged as well.
> However, I clearly don't have the sufficient knowledge and background 
> to go there and request that they change this, nor would I want to do 
> that, it regards primarily kichwa speakers or at least Ecuadorian 
> people (in my
> opinion) whereas having a new IETF code like qu-kichwa just to 
> recognize the existence of the "unified" version doesn't hurt anyone 
> and doesn't negate the existence of the regional ways of speaking, so 
> that it would be the least intrusive thing to do right now in my opinion.
> Yours,
> Sylvain Mailler
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