Registration request for new subtag

Doug Ewell doug at
Mon Sep 22 19:59:17 CEST 2014

Addison raised the procedural point that extlangs cannot be
independently proposed and registered, which is enough. But there is

HMRD Cesidio Tallini <ct at 5world dot net> wrote:

> The subtag is intended to represent UMMOA English orthography as
> published in "UMMOA English", by Cesidio Tallini.

If this were indeed an orthography, which it isn't, a variant subtag and
not an extlang would be the proper target.

> UMMOA English, originally an extension of British English (en-GB), is
> now a distinct version of English, and is also distinct from Oxford
> English Dictionary English (en-GB-oed), and American English (en-US).

"Extended language subtags" don't signify "extensions" to existing
languages, such as English with added vocabulary. Extlangs are directly
related to the ISO 639-3 concept of "macrolanguage," which applies
specifically to the situation where two or more languages, dialects, or
idioms are sometimes considered to be the same language, and sometimes
considered to be different languages. Chinese is a perfect example of
this. Sign languages are a good example. English with added vocabulary
is not at all an example. No evidence is given here, or at the linked
website, that "UMMOA English" is so different from American English or
British English or OED English that anyone would consider it not to be

It seems that the requester included a link to RFC 5646 on his website
without truly reading or understanding it.

> UMMOA English is the form of English that is standard in the United
> Micronations Multi-Oceanic Archipelago or UMMOA®. The UMMOA is a
> nation or people scattered around the world, which is developing a
> distinct culture, even distinct sciences or branches of science.

Some evidence might be helpful that this group of people connected by
the Internet (or other computer networks) really speaks a language that
is not English, or differs substantially from English other than in the
use of limited neologisms.

> Currently the en-x-UMMOA private language subtag is being used to
> represent UMMOA English orthography, but the distinct vocabulary is
> rapidly expanding, and requires a language tag that is more official
> and unique, and which leaves out the UMMOA word mark, more
> representative of a recognised political minority, than the minority's
> major spoken language, or unique cultural expression.

IETF language subtags don't exist to confer legitimacy or "official"
status on languages or variants. They exist so that material in
different languages and variants can be tagged accordingly, so that
people searching for content in a given language or variant can find
what they are looking for.

The linked website gives this "analogy" to justify the request for an

> zh-yue  Chinese as spoken in Hong Kong and Macau  language+extlang
> en-ugv  English as spoken in the UMMOA            language+extlang

I have no idea where this came from, but:

1. Cantonese, not Yue, is the main Chinese language spoken in Hong Kong
   and Macau.

2. The description of 'yue' in the Language Subtag Registry is "Yue
   Chinese" with no mention of any region. (Evidently the requester
   didn't look in the Registry either.)

3. Neither "zh-yue" or any other language-extlang combination would be
   used to mean "Chinese as spoken in Hong Kong and Macau" or in any
   other region. These would be "zh-HK" and "zh-MO". Indeed, the problem
   of mistagging usually runs in the opposite direction: people use
   "language-region" when they should use "language-extlang" or simply

4. The differences between Yue, Cantonese, and other Chinese languages,
   which led ISO 639-3 to encode them separately and encompass them
   under a "Chinese" macrolanguage, are far greater than a list of
   unique vocabulary words.

The website also includes a document called "UMMOA English" which does
not describe any differences from English except to provide a list of:

1. ordinary, commonly understood English words and terms, such as
   "city," "cottage industry," "government," "island," "member," and
   "place of birth".

2. lesser-known or newly invented words derived primarily from English,
   Latin, and Greek.

3. several terms derived from the creator's name ("Cesidian calendar,"
   "Cesidian law," "Cesidian virtues").

These don't begin to prove the existence of a distinct language or
dialect. The closest analogy I can find even in the "variant" category
is Boontling ("en-boont"), a jargon spoken in a single town, and in that
case the unique vocabulary was at least well documented and was
relatively famous at one point. Nothing in the UMMOA word list leads to
the conclusion that this is not English with added words. Orwell's
Newspeak would be better suited for a subtag.

It seems that "en-x-ummoa", or maybe just "en", will have to be the way

Doug Ewell | Thornton, CO, USA | @DougEwell

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