Descriptions for Volapük variants

Doug Ewell doug at
Tue Jan 17 20:43:11 CET 2012

Michael Everson <everson at evertype dot com> wrote:

> Still discussing Volapük... Other options would be:
> vo-1888vbuk
> vo-1931vbuk
> where "vbuk" = "vödabuk" and the references are to Schleyer's 4th
> edition and to de Jong's 6th edition. (Schleyer wrote 5 editions:
> 1882 2nd edition
> 1884 3rd edition
> 1888 4th edition (648 pp)
> 1897 5th edition (unfinished: 224 pages, only from "a" to "back")

I've already discussed this with Michael privately; this is for the

Personally, I don't agree with using year numbers as a first choice to
identify language varieties. We started doing this back in 2001, for
German, in the whole-tag-registration era, because we were faced with an
old German orthography and a new German orthography and, for many good
reasons, we didn't want to call them "old" and "new". But for simple
identification of different varieties, which aren't necessarily about
"oldness" and "newness", we have plenty of choices.

Specifically for Volapük, there is at least one Schleyer variety and
at least one de Jong variety. (It's not clear to me whether a need is
perceived to tag Schleyer-1882 differently from Schleyer-1888, etc.)
To me it makes much more sense, if Volapük speakers and writers really
think of these varieties in terms of Schleyer and de Jong, for the
subtag values to reflect this, instead of using date-based subtags like
'1888vbuk' and '1931vbuk' that lack intuitive meaning and look almost
identical to each other at first glance.

> This format has often been used for subtags:
> 1606nict (Late Middle French to 1606) - added 2007-03-20
> 1694acad (Early Modern French) - added 2007-03-20
> baku1926 (Unified Turkic Latin Alphabet) - added 2007-04-18
> 1959acad (Academic/Governmantal Belarusian) - added 2008-09-30
> petr1708 (Russian orthography 1708-1917) - added 2010-10-10
> luna1918 (Russian orthography post-1917) - added 2010-10-10

I know there is precedent. For some of these, the year-author or
author-year format (we obviously have no precedent favoring one or the
other) does make some sense, because the differences do have to do
with time frames. Russian is a good example. I don't think the main
distinguishing feature of the Unified Turkic alphabet was that it was
promulgated in the year 1926; likewise for Academic Belarusian and the
year 1959. So I kind of wish we had come to different outcomes there,
especially since the "opposite" of '1959acad' is 'tarask', which is not
identified by a year.

> So either vbuk1931 or 1931vbuk would probably be fine. More precise
> than rigik/nulik or jleyer/dejong. On the other hand, perhaps slightly
> less mnemonic.

I think the '1931' subtags are MUCH less mnemonic, and doubt that the
additional precision (if any) is really helpful for language tagging
purposes. I would much rather see rigik/nulik or jleyer/dejong or

All of that said, I know basically zero Volapük, so that should be
factored into any decisions about consensus.

Doug Ewell | Thornton, Colorado, USA | @DougEwell ­

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