Portuguese subtags [was Re: Ietf-languages Digest, Vol 104, Issue 7]

António H F P A Emiliano (FCSH/UNL) ah.emiliano at fcsh.unl.pt
Tue Sep 13 21:55:14 CEST 2011

Hello to All & to Michael E. in particular.

On 2011/09/13, at 11:00, ietf-languages-request at alvestrand.no wrote:

> Message: 2
> Date: Tue, 13 Sep 2011 10:38:15 +0100
> From: Michael Everson <everson at evertype.com>
> To: ietf-languages <ietf-languages at alvestrand.no>
> Subject: Re: Portuguese subtags
> Message-ID: <19908823-682D-40F4-870E-4375F98414BE at evertype.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=windows-1252
> On 13 Sep 2011, at 09:19, Ant?nio H F P A Emiliano (FCSH/UNL) wrote:
>> After due consideration, I would say that the minimal and optimal  
>> set of subtags for encoding Portuguese written texts is:
>> pre1911
> If pre1911 this does not point to anything specific, then it's just  
> any number of conflicting unstandardized practices, so there should  
> not be a subtag for it.

I accept. Will not press this matter any further.

>> 1911bou - Bases da Ortografia Unificada
>> 1945colb - Conven??o Ortogr?fica Luso-Brasileira
>> 1990aolp - Acordo Ortogr?fico da L?ngua Portuguesa
>> I confess that I am not very comfortable with the idea of suddenly  
>> having all these PT subtags. But my main argument remains: if you  
>> introduce a 1990 subtag then you MUST perforce also have 1945 and  
>> 1911.
> This was also my point: since the 1990 orthography is controversial  
> and some people may not adopt it, it may be necessary to  
> distinguish what they do write from the 1990 orthography.

OK. And if you create a 1945 subtag you are then forced to  
distinguish that from the previous reform which is 1911.

>> There is still a potential snag regarding the 1990 subtag. I have  
>> addressed this issue in my earliest comments and have not read a  
>> satisfactory reply or suggestion. What should the meaning of the  
>> date be?
>> The 1990 reform was signed in 1990 by representatives of the  
>> governments of 7 PT-speaking countries; it was approved by the  
>> Portuguese Parliament in 1991; it was ratified by the Portuguese  
>> president also in 1991; ; it lay dormant for almost 20 years; it  
>> was officially introduced in PT in 2008; it will in principle be  
>> fully enforced in PT in 2014 or 2015. I sincerely hope that no one  
>> uses 1990aolp as a simple chronological tag (1911 and 1945 are  
>> chronological tags, like the German tags -- they refer to the date  
>> of official approval and implementation; 1990 does not).
> I don't know how to respond to this; the 1990 implementation seems  
> problematic.

The wording of the proposal and of the description for the actual use  
of the 1990 subtag must be very clear about the meaning of '1990'.

> On 12 Sep 2011, at 15:54, Ant?nio H F P A Emiliano (FCSH/UNL) wrote:
>>> One correction: 1990aolp has an official vocabulary in
>>> http://www.portaldalinguaportuguesa.org/ (Vocabul?rio Ortogr?fico do
>>> Portugu?s).
>> No. I'm sorry but that is NOT an official reference work or tool.  
>> That is an online database, which by definition is not a closed  
>> entity. It has mistakes and it is NOT stable. I know it has been  
>> endorsed by the "Minist?rio da Educa??o" (the Dept of Education)  
>> but that endorsement cannot override what is clearly stated in the  
>> treaty.
> Isn't this problematic, Jo?o?

I will let João speak for himself, of course, but I really fail to  
see how an online tool which is not stable can serve as an  
authoritative reference. This is not something like the British Natl  
Corpus or the Helsinki Corpus. Far from it.

>> I *entreat* Michael Everson to oppose in the strongest terms  
>> possible the inclusion of even a single reference to this database  
>> in the proposal. That thing is an embarassment to all serious  
>> Portuguese linguists. We are waiting for the Portuguese Academy to  
>> publish its vocabulary,
> I would prefer to see an actual specification. Otherwise what does  
> the subtag refer to? It does not really matter of the Portuguese  
> Academy or some other body publishes it, I suppose, but surely  
> there must be *some* word-list that one can rely upon. If not,  
> perhaps it is too early to specify a subtag.

There are commercial dictionaries available but they do not agree  
100% on the ortographic forms of all the words. This should be noted  
in the case that YOU accept references to 2 or 3 dictionaries.

>> but even that vocabulary will not fulfil the requirements of the  
>> treaty, which are clearly stated.
> What does this mean?

It means that Article 2 of the Treaty states that ALL signatory  
countries must collaborate in the creation of a 'Vocabulário  
Ortográfico COMUM da Língua Portuguesa'. No such thing exists. BR has  
an official Brazilian Vocabulary, issued by the Academia. PT has a  
vocabulary available commercially (the Portuguese Academy announced 2  
years ago that its vocabulary would be made available till the end of  
2010 -- I very much suspect that no work has been done since the  
announcement). AO is starting work on their own vocabulary. None of  
these *national* vocabularies fulfil the requirement of the Treaty .  
Summing up: an international orthpgraphic treaty demands an  
international vocabulary. No such vocabulary exists or has been  
projected. This is a real problem for anyone trying to grasp the  
practical effects of the 1990 reform.

>>> I don't think the pre1911 makes sense given that there are  
>>> several reforms before.
>> Those reforms were ?informal? reforms in the sense that no formal  
>> royal or governmental decree was issued concerning them (that we  
>> know of). ?pre1911? will provide, I think, a nice way to encompass  
>> all texts written prior to the existence of an official Portuguese  
>> orthography.
> You can use an un-specified language tag for that. The subtag  
> points to a specific orthography in this context.

OK. Point taken & duly noted. Thx.

Best regards e um abraço. - A.

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