Serbo-Croatian continuum: the top level

Doug Ewell doug at
Mon Mar 3 17:03:05 CET 2014

Gordon P. Hemsley <me at gphemsley dot org> wrote:

>> Implementers of BCP 47 who assume all language subtags must be ISO
>> 639 code elements are just as mistaken as implementers of RFC 1766
>> and 3066 in the Olden Days who assumed all tags would look like "xx"
>> or "xx-XX".
> Mistaken or not, we are still having to deal with the reality of the
> existence of these Olden Days implementations, which makes it
> difficult to use script subtags, let alone new primary language
> subtags greater than length 3.

As RFC 4646 introduced both the script subtag mechanism and the
"registered" primary language subtag mechanism seven and a half years
ago, and as script subtags sort of existed even before then, via whole
tags registered under RFC 3066, I'm not too sympathetic to the notion
that we should avoid using the "newer" features of BCP 47 because
implementers haven't had time to catch up.

> Not having invested too much time in following the actual linguistic
> discussion, I personally favor proposal (1b), which uses variant
> subtags on macrolanguage 'sh'. It seems to me that, given that the
> varieties are on a continuum, which by its nature make it difficult to
> categorize the varieties into distinct boxes, it makes the most sense
> to fix points on the continuum that do not necessarily correspond one-
> to-one with the "dialects with an army".

This, OTOH, seems to be an excellent point.

Doug Ewell | Thornton, CO, USA | @DougEwell

More information about the Ietf-languages mailing list