Assignment of private use language subtags

Doug Ewell doug at
Thu May 8 17:01:49 CEST 2014

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

> I was just informed about the existence of this mapping of private use
> language subtags to languages, maintained by LINGUIST List and used by
> MultiTree:

Thanks for the link. I hadn't seen it before, and still can't figure out
how to get this list directly from Linguist List or MultiTree.

> Does anyone have any opinions as to the importance of this list, and
> how much others should be concerned about clashing with these
> assignments on the wire? (I know there are similar lists maintained
> for the Unicode private use area that have some importance for
> unencoded script users.)
> How safe is it to ignore these assignments?

I agree with the comparison to the ConScript Unicode Registry
( and similar Unicode PUA
allocations. BCP 47 users might do well to honor or avoid (as
appropriate) these private assignments -- particularly if they gain
traction outside of Linguist List -- but they are under no obligation to
do so, and BCP 47 should not formalize this arrangement.

The quality of the list is debatable, and discussion of that is left for
another message (maybe). That said, since it appears in a Wikipedia page
(maintained almost exclusively by one person), it would be a welcome
improvement if Wikipedia authors and editors were to move toward using
code elements from this list, compared to making up non-private code
elements as they go along. The Wikipedia page doesn't specify this as a
goal, though.

Doug Ewell | Thornton, CO, USA | @DougEwell

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