regional language variation (was RE: registration requests re Portuguese)

Peter Constable petercon at
Mon Apr 13 20:25:16 CEST 2015

True, but there's a difference between characterizing the linguistic nature of some content versus characterizing user preferences. 

I don't think it would have sense, for example, to characterize a particular document as "en-TH" in order to reflect that the text is in English but that a string inside the document "2558" is to be interpreted in terms of the Thai Buddhist era. But it might be reasonable for a user to indicate "en-TH" as a preference if the preference they want to indicate is for content in English but that date strings should use the Thai Buddhist era (or other formatting details associated with Thailand). 

Of course, the latter could be reflected even more carefully in a tag like (e.g.) "en-u-ca-buddhist". And with that approach, the region subtag can be used for the more-specifically linguistic distinctions that may correlate with regions; e.g., "en-CA-u-ca-buddhist".


-----Original Message-----
From: Ietf-languages [mailto:ietf-languages-bounces at] On Behalf Of Phillips, Addison
Sent: Monday, April 13, 2015 9:09 AM
To: Yury; ietf-languages at
Subject: regional language variation (was RE: registration requests re Portuguese)

> >
> > For en-US and en-UK, nds-DE and nds-NL, and at least up to now, 
> > pt-BR and pt-PT, the language+region combination has served to 
> > distinguish dialects that many users felt needed distinguishing.
> All those ones you mention surely did their part in the days when all 
> was needed was a coarse-ishly delimited set of basic _culture_-related 
> tags (like, currency, thousands, and date format). In days where the 
> more and more fine distinctions are being set up in the _language_ 
> area (and more and more folks sort of get their share of ramplight from those), not quite so.

Those days are not gone: there are many cases where languages are spread across multiple regions and, even though the variation in language can be small (perhaps much smaller than en-US vs. en-GB), there are culturally linked variations in language usage such as date format, calendar presentation, and the like. These are captured by what we sometimes call a "locale" and you can see these variations collected, for example, by CLDR [1].


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