Macrolanguages (was: Re: BCP 47)

Doug Ewell doug at
Fri Mar 8 19:17:50 CET 2013

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

> Actually, I stand behind the first part of that sentence. Even if 'de'
> were a macrolanguage around Swabian, I would not recommend using it
> because in most cases it would reduce the usability of the tag in
> which it appeared.

No argument there. This is a question of individual subtag choice, not
what this group can or cannot do in maintaining the Registry.

> However, I would say that it isn't a good idea to run out and petition
> the RA to make more macrolanguages. BCP47 has extensive discussion in
> Section 4.1 about when and how to use macrolanguages: unless your
> application can derive additional meaning or compatibility by using
> one with an extended language subtag, it says they are best avoided. 

I agree completely, especially since many users of 639-3 don't seem to
understand what a macrolanguage is anyway, and think it's another word
for a grouping or collection of languages.

But again, whether to petition the RA is a matter for individuals, not
the ietf-languages group.

Doug Ewell | Thornton, CO, USA | @DougEwell ­

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