Additional name "Cou" for 'tsu' (was: i-tsu: minor correction in RFC 5646 language tag entry)

Doug Ewell doug at
Sun Oct 5 18:50:50 CEST 2014

Pascal Vaillant wrote:

> I tend to agree. The question then boils down to the following
> (consensual) arguments:
> - no need to add an alternative translitteration for the sake
> of adding every possible hypothetical spelling;
> - it is worth adding a name if it is actually in use among
> scholars or among the population.
> To get an idea about the answer to the second question concerning
> "cou", I have asked the question to a specialist of the field,
> Elisabeth Zeitoun of the Academia Sinica (see e-mail exchange below).
> From her answer I conclude that (1) among scholars, nobody ever
> uses "cou", but (2) "cou" actually is the way the language name
> would be written in the language itself - if it was transcribed
> phonetically (which, apparently, it isn't).

(1) would be a compelling argument if not for the fact that the original 
request cited a Ph.D. dissertation by a scholar in Bonn who did use the 
spelling "Cou". So it might be a stretch to say "nobody ever." Perhaps 
Dr. Szakos is the only one.

The e-mail exchange seemed to show that the academic community (as Ms. 
Zeitoun sees it) prefers "Tsou" over both "Cou" and "Zou". Notably, her 
response did not show any support for "Zou".

Ethnologue lists the following as "alternate names" for this language, 
which should be more interesting for our purposes than alternative 
spellings or transliterations:

Namakaban, Niitaka, Tibola, Tibolah, Tibolak, Tibolal, Tso, Tsoo, Tsuou, 
Tsu-U, Tsu-Wo, Tzo

Note that neither "Cou" nor "Zou" appears on this list. Note also that 
Ethnologue lists "alternate names" like this for thousands of languages, 
and attempting to add even these to the Registry would put us on a 
rather slippery slope.

Accordingly, my opinion is that neither alternative spelling should be 
added, and while anyone may submit forms for the Reviewer's 
consideration, I won't be the one to do so.

Doug Ewell | Thornton, CO, USA | @DougEwell ­ 

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