Macrolanguages (was: Re: BCP 47)

Doug Ewell doug at
Mon Mar 11 19:56:15 CET 2013

Peter Constable <petercon at microsoft dot com> wrote:

> E.g., if tags like zh-yue had not been registered under the terms of
> RFC 1766, then zh might have been equated with Mandarin only and not
> been treated as it was as a macrolanguage encompassing Chinese
> languages spoken in China.

This would never have happened if ISO 639-1 and/or -2 had included
separate code elements for Chinese languages other than Mandarin, and
not listed simply "Chinese" as the name associated with zh/zho/chi.

With about 59 million speakers, Yue obviously was intended to be
included within "Chinese" in these standards. According to Mark's
analysis, this implies that bibliographic needs trumped all other
language identification considerations.

Doug Ewell | Thornton, CO, USA | @DougEwell ­

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