lang ID for "*" (any language)

Peter Constable petercon at
Thu Jun 14 00:06:50 CEST 2012

Conceptually, there's a subtle difference between an absence of language qualifier, and "match any (else)" (= "*"). These two are variations of "generic"; "not yet determined" is clearly a distinct concept. However, it may be that there isn't a software resources/localization scenario in which these three things need to be differentiated. 

So, maybe "und" could be good enough. (If I have to choose something that's available now, that's the best choice.) It would amount to as kind of aligning with CLDR and other application scenarios that treat "und" slightly differently than the librarians would: they'd use it to me 'we don't know', whereas the software loc world is using it to mean something more like 'we don't care'.


-----Original Message-----
From: John Cowan [mailto:cowan at] On Behalf Of John Cowan
Sent: June-13-12 12:29 PM
To: Peter Constable
Cc: Mark Davis ☕; Gordon P. Hemsley; ietf-languages at; Doug Ewell
Subject: Re: lang ID for "*" (any language)

Peter Constable scripsit:

> In software application localization, it seems pretty unlikely that 
> anyone would have resources hanging around qualified as “und” with the 
> meaning ‘some language we haven’t identified’. So, it could perhaps be 
> used for the meaning ‘no language is specified’. But if one has a need 
> to differentiate two distinct variations on that concept, then there 
> might be a problem. We’re thinking that there can be use in 
> distinguishing the concept ‘neutral (no information)’ from ‘can match 
> any request with no better matching resource (else)’.

I'm not sure I follow you here.  "Und" means that we have no information about language, and therefore must use a universal/generic approach (collate using untailored DUCET, for example).  How is that different from "zzz" specifying that any language is a possibility here, and therefore we must use a universal/generic approach?

But you, Wormtongue, you have done what you could for your true master.  Some reward you have earned at least.  Yet Saruman is apt to overlook his bargains.
I should advise you to go quickly and remind him, lest he forget your faithful
service.  --Gandalf             John Cowan <cowan at>

More information about the Ietf-languages mailing list