Offline: Registration request for new subtags for Portuguese orthographies

joao at joao at
Wed Mar 25 09:45:24 CET 2015

Hi all,

I think the following is irrelevant, but explains the difference between
AO1990's intent, current usage and it's context:

1) Since the independence of Brazil in XVIII century Portuguese had been
diverging on Portugal and Brazil. When Portugal implements a major reform
in 1911 that difference becomes very clear and is set in stone when Brazil
officially does its first orthographic reform in 1943.

2) The "Convenção Ortográfica Luso-Brasileira" of 1945 is based mostly on
the 1911 Portugueses reform that is seen at the time as having modernised
the language. It was the first formal agreement between the two Portuguese
speaking countries. Brazil back-pedalled but ended up implementing it in
1971 (26 years later).

3) In 1974, with the revolution in Portugal the Portuguese empire gives
origin to several countries with Portuguese as their official language in
the following years.

4) From 1974 two things changed made the divergence visible in Portugal:
TV (particularly with the primetime release of Brazilian soap operas) made
people realise there was another Portuguese and later IT (with publishers
choosing to implement Portuguese for the biggest market first, so pt-BR).
I started localisation not to implement Portuguese in software but to be
able to use my pt-PT. And if any developer argued that there should be
only a pt language, they'd have both Portuguese and Brazilian localisers
explaining them otherwise, with the ones insisting paying a price (as an
anedocte LaTeX's "portugese" package for hyphenation is said to be still
the biggest piece of code for language support in the LaTeX world because
of this insistence).

5) The realisation that from anyone else's perspective pt is becoming
pt-BR is one of the reasons behind AO1990 and why it was the first
orthographic reform that is both multi-country and not just "adopt the
updates from Portugal".

6) While the agreement attempts to define a single Portuguese (pt-ao1990),
the reality is that mainstream adoption has only happened in Portugal. So
pt-PT-ao1990 is the one I expect to be most used[1].

7) The agreement is an orthographic reform with over 60 rules that try to
merge all the pt-* and update the Portuguese orthography for the first
time since 1911.

[1] From the 2 tags being proposed, pt-PT-ao1990 will be the less used.
Current use is that pt-PT is pt-PT-ao1990[2]. People who want to continue
to use the old orthography are the ones that need pt-PT-colb1945.

[2] The way the government forced the adoption was tactical and can be
considered disingenious, but was effective. They used their buying power
(forcing all public procurement to demand pt-PT-ao1990) and their role of
mandating school curricula (that school manual publishers must follow) to
force through the education. On the private sector it was adopted by some
publishers that are publishing in both Portugal and Brazil (the biggest
book markets in Portuguese-speaking countries).

Feel free to ask about anything that you'd like to know more.

Best regards,

Shawn wrote:
> Even if it is that vague, it would still serve our (and apparently
> other's) needs.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Ietf-languages [mailto:ietf-languages-bounces at] On
> Behalf Of Peter Constable
> Sent: Tuesday, March 24, 2015 7:48 PM
> To: Kent Karlsson; ietf-languages at
> Subject: RE: Offline: Registration request for new subtags for Portuguese
> orthographies
> It hasn't been my impression that ao1990 is as vague as that. I claim no
> particular expertise in Portuguese so can't debate those details. Even if
> it is as vague as you suggest, though, how is this categorically different
> from es-419? That is at least as vague if not more so, yet nobody (now)
> debates the utility of that tag.
> Peter
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Ietf-languages [mailto:ietf-languages-bounces at] On
> Behalf Of Kent Karlsson
> Sent: Tuesday, March 24, 2015 4:02 PM
> To: ietf-languages at
> Subject: Re: Offline: Registration request for new subtags for Portuguese
> orthographies
> Den 2015-03-24 23:50, skrev "Shawn Steele" <Shawn.Steele at>:
>> I hear that "ao1990 is a collection of features that are used from
>> time to time".  Presumably it is a different collection of features from
>> "pt".
> The tag "pt" (i.e. no subtags) covers *all* variants of Portuguese.
> Apparently "pt-ao1990" would cover almost all (current) variants of
> written Portuguese. So at best, IIUC, you get that it is not very
> old-fashioned, and that it is written.
> /Kent K
> _______________________________________________
> Ietf-languages mailing list
> Ietf-languages at
> _______________________________________________
> Ietf-languages mailing list
> Ietf-languages at
> _______________________________________________
> Ietf-languages mailing list
> Ietf-languages at

More information about the Ietf-languages mailing list