Peter Constable petercon at
Fri May 4 22:22:36 CEST 2012

There are various distinct issues:

1. providing enough description to make reasonably clear the intended denotation

2. providing a preferred display name (in language X, or an autoglottonym) for the language

3. providing a comprehensive set of names that might be the way a user might expect (e.g. terms that they might use to search for the language in a language picker UI)

4. providing translations of terms in 2 or 3 in various languages

5. providing an exhaustive listing of names known to ever be used for the language in linguistic documentation (for purposes of documentation, not for use in any ICT implementation)

Certain #1 is within the scope of the LSTR. It's not clear that any of the others are in scope.


From: ietf-languages-bounces at [ietf-languages-bounces at] on behalf of Doug Ewell [doug at]
Sent: April 29, 2012 5:03 PM
To: ietf-languages at

Michael Everson <everson at evertype dot com> wrote:

> I don't think this is within our scope. ISO 639 can add such a
> synonym, can they not?
> I don't want to get into the business of adding such synonyms.
> There are a zillion of them.

and "Phillips, Addison" <addison at lab126 dot com> wrote:

> It's permitted, but RFC 5646 tries hard to discourage such
> registrations for the reason you cite. In particular, the RFC says:
> Attempts to provide translations or transcriptions of entries in the
> registry (which, by definition, provide no new information) are
> unlikely to be approved.
> [Admittedly, this isn't a translation, but it doesn't seem to me to
> rise to the level of "adding new information" necessary to
> disambiguate the subtag.]

I worked offline with Tomaž on these registration proposals over the
last couple of weeks, and I agreed with him that the alternate use of
"Slovenian" and "Slovene" seemed widespread and well-defined, and not
really something that there are a zillion of. I think this is more like
Spanish/Castilian, Catalan/Valencian, Kirghiz/Kyrgyz, Ossetian/Ossetic,
and a small set of others.

The English-language Wikipedia uses both terms in body text, but uses
"Slovene language" as its main headword and redirects "Slovenian
language" to it.

It may be that this is a job for ISO 639 and not us, but I don't agree
that it falls into the category of "translations or transcriptions" that
RFC 5646 is talking about. Those who worked on 5646 and 4646 will recall
that the goal there was to avoid this kind of rabbit hole:

Description: German
Description: Deutsch
Description: Allemand
Description: Alemán
Description: Tedesco
Description: Неме́цкий
Description: لغة ألمانية

Doug Ewell | Thornton, Colorado, USA | @DougEwell ­

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