Deprecating grandfathered tags (was: Re: Add Likely Subtags first step)

Peter Constable petercon at
Thu Feb 12 17:28:08 CET 2015

The "min" in "zh-min" was the first(?) extlang subtag, before anybody thought of designating anything as "extlang". But it clashed with an existing ISO 639-2 identifier. So, when extlangs were created and specified to use ISO 639, "zh-min" got left behind.


-----Original Message-----
From: Ietf-languages [mailto:ietf-languages-bounces at] On Behalf Of Doug Ewell
Sent: Sunday, January 25, 2015 12:08 PM
To: John Cowan
Cc: ietf-languages at
Subject: Deprecating grandfathered tags (was: Re: Add Likely Subtags first step)

John Cowan wrote:

>> •    adding variant 'idefault' with prefix "en" and deprecating
>> "i-default". This subtag value is better than 'default' (which I 
>> originally would have preferred) as the latter would have been 
>> misleading.
> I am unalterably opposed to this.  RFC 5255 (IMAP extensions) uses 
> i-default, and isn't going to change, and probably no one else does.
> Adding en-idefault is useless.

But harmless. There is probably not a single application, present or future, that would ever use the new, "preferred" regular tag; they would all stick with "i-default". BCP 47 assures that they may do so; SHOULD NOT is not MUST NOT.

>> •    deprecating "cel-gaulish" and adding a "see ..." Comments field
>> with subtags alphabetized.
> As noted, I'd prefer to omit the tags unless we can get authoritative 
> information on which they should be.

I'm OK with that. Comments can be added or removed at any time.

> Though when zh-min was assigned, the split of Min Chinese into four or 
> five varieties was not yet contemplated.  Min is essentially a 
> subfamily of Sinitic that split off from the rest of Sinitic before 
> the Middle Chinese period.  "Ill-conceived" is rather harsh.

I stand corrected.

Doug Ewell | Thornton, CO, USA | ­ 

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