Region subtags and orthographic variants (was: Re: registration requests re Portuguese)

Doug Ewell doug at
Wed Apr 15 17:32:04 CEST 2015

Yury wrote:

> When marking content ' cases where it is desirable to indicate
> the language used in an information object' [rfc5646], specifically in
> cases where the distinction are made per the orthography standards
> (e.g., 'pt' case), the 'region' element is unnecessary (extraneous)
> either in 'prefix' of this list forms or in rfc5646-conforming
> 'langtags' themselves.

Yury, you are not reading what I and others have written. I will try
only one more time.

There are different aspects of language usage that might need to be
identified in a BCP 47 tag. These include vocabulary choice, grammar,
spoken accent, orthography, and many more.

Many of these aspects, or varieties, are regional in nature. That is,
they are commonly associated with a given geographical region.

In BCP 47, region subtags are the way to identify language varieties
that can be associated with a "region" as defined by ISO 3166 or UN
M.49. Other varieties are identified with a variant subtag.

There is NOT guaranteed to be a relationship between (a) regional
varieties of language usage and (b) choice of orthography.

Because of this, it may be desirable to indicate both regional variety
and orthography in the same BCP 47 tag. The way to do this is with a tag
that includes both a region subtag and a variant subtag.

An example, using currently defined subtags, is "de-AT-1996". This tag
means "German, as used (spoken, written) in Austria, using the 1996

It is not ALWAYS necessary to include either the region subtag 'AT' or
the variant subtag '1996'. But it IS necessary to include both of them
if both pieces of information are important to describe the content.

Continuing to assert that the region subtag in such a tag is
"unnecessary" or "extraneous," simply because there is also a variant
subtag that indicates the orthography, does not make it so.

> In this specific case, you don't have any 'extlang', so you don't have
> to over-specify in the 'Prefix' field [rfc5646, p.41].

I have no idea what extlangs have to do with this, and no idea what part
of Page 41 you are looking at.

Doug Ewell | | Thornton, CO 🇺🇸

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