Request of new variant subtag for kichwa (inside qu)

mailler at mailler at
Tue Jun 14 17:34:09 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.)


I am not an expert, some indications
- CODENPE (Ecuadorian public institution for el developement of Nations
and People of the Ecuador) is publishing significant amount of texts in
kichwa (see, lower part of the
- Others institutions do so, including the National Assembly and a public
information website. Both have regularly updated publications

All these institutions use the Unified kichwa orthography, and could be
usefully tagged with qu-kichwa.

A project in kichwa has a some advancement on the wikimedia incubator : It needs an
appropriate language tag to be commited.

All in all, there is a significant quantity of material on internet but it
not easy to search within this content without interference from southern
quechua (which does not have a good level of interintelligibility) or
spanish - depending which google edition one uses. If a qu-kichwa tag is
created, I think Google or other search tools may consider adding it to
their language options (there are 500.000-2 millions speakers depending on

So I think the need for this subtag exists, at least for the qu-kichwa
subtag. for the individual variants (q??-kichwa), I think the need is much
smaller, typically very few pages are clearly attached to a regional form.


Sylvain Mailler

> Peter
> -----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.
> Yours,
> 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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