Second correction to 'ao1990' : Prefix field - widening to 'pt'

Luc Pardon lucp at
Fri May 15 15:06:34 CEST 2015

Below is a registration form to request another correction to the
current registration of 'ao1990', namely the widening of the current set
of three "pt-XX" prefixes to a single "Prefix: pt".

This request is in addition to the earlier spelling correction as
requested by Doug, and the said correction has been incorporated in the
form below.

I'd like to invite the list members to explicitly state their opinion on
this widening, even if they have done so before. As known, a decision by
the LTR is in fact a decision by the IESG and as such it is open to
appeal. If that should happen, I think it would be helpful to the IESG
if they didn't have to wade through the entire prior discussion.

I'd particularly like to invite Andrew to state his opinion. As the
original registrant, his input is supposed to carry extra weight in
forming a consensus.

Please note that I submit the form in my own name, although I think it
is really Andrew who should take the credit (if any), as he requested
"Prefix: pt" in the first place. In any case, he ought not to be blamed
for the sorry state the current registration is in. I didn't want to
submit a form with his name on it without his consent, but of course I'd
be happy to have the requester details changed if he's fine with that.

Luc Pardon



1. Name of requester: Luc Pardon

2. E-mail address of requester: lucp at

3. Record Requested:

Type: variant

Subtag: ao1990

Description: Portuguese Language Orthographic Agreement of 1990 (Acordo
Ortográfico da Língua Portuguesa de 1990)

Prefix: pt

Comments: Portuguese orthography conventions established in 1990 but not
brought into effect until 2009

4. Intended meaning of the subtag:

Denotes Portuguese orthography conventions established in 1990.

5. Reference to published description of the language (book or article):

6. Any other relevant information:

The current registration (meaning: as added on 2015-05-06) has three
prefixes: pt-BR, pt-CV and pt-PT.

This modification widens the range of recommended language tags by
replacing these three prefix values with a single "Prefix : pt", in
order to address five (5) issues (three contradictions, one procedural
error and one "political road accident") that affect the current
registration. They are as follows.

a. As per BCP47 3.1.8, the current registration, by explicitly providing
three prefixes, actually states that 'ao1990' is ONLY recommended for
use with Portuguese as used in the three named countries. In so doing,
it suggests at the same time that 'ao1990' is NOT appropriate for use in
any other countries where the Portuguese language is spoken.

This is flatly in contradiction with the supplied references, where it
is expressly stated that the designers of AO1990 intended it to be a
unified spelling for worldwide use, and, more in particular, that they
intended it to become the official spelling in all countries where
Portuguese is an official language.

The registration should respect the (documented) intent of the designers
of the spelling being registered, and therefore the three current
"pt-XX" prefixes must be replaced by a single "Prefix: pt".

b. It is another contradiction for the current registration to
implicitly suggest that 'ao1990' is NOT appropriate for Portuguese as
spoken in e.g. Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, São Tomé or East Timor
(because they are excluded from the set of prefixes), and then points to
a reference (more specifically the Portuguese Wikipedia page) that
explicitly states that this spelling convention has both been approved
AND ratified by the respective governments of all of the said countries.

One solution would be to extend the current set of 3 prefixes to include
at least those four countries (for a total of 7), but the registry is
not meant to track the progress of international standardization
efforts. Also, the situation in two other countries where Portuguese is
an official language (Angola and Macau) is not clear from the
documentation at the time of writing.

Therefore it is better to replace the current set of three "pt-XX"
prefixes with a single "Prefix: pt" and be done with it.

c. There is a third contradiction, this one internal to the registry, in
the way the prefix values are specified for different variants.

The registration for "oxendict" has "Prefix: en", although the Oxford
spelling was never intended for "English as used in the USA", and
therefore "en-US-oxendict" would probably not be meaningful.

However, during the review process (which occurred more or less
simultaneously with that for 'ao1990') there was consensus on the list
that the responsibility for deciding which combination is meaningful and
which is not should remain with the users of the registry. Hence the
(overly broad) "Prefix: en".

It is then a contradiction to trust the taggers of English with such
responsibility and at the same time trying to provide fine-grained and
precise guidance to taggers of Portuguese.

Therefore the current set of three "pt-XX" prefixes should be replaced
by a single "Prefix: pt", leaving the responsibility for forming
meaningful combinations to the user, as was done with 'oxendict'.

d. As to the procedural error mentioned above: the original registration
request for 'ao1990' had "Prefix: pt". In the course of the review
process this was narrowed down to the current set of three prefixes, but
this narrowing was not done by the original applicant. Neither has the
applicant indicated his consent until several days after the last of
several review periods had ended. At that time, the modified request had
already been approved (albeit implicitly).

As per BCP47 3.5 p. 45, this modification should not even have been
considered, much less approved, without PRIOR consent by the applicant.

Since 'ao1990' as a variant has been irrevocably approved by now, the
only remedy to address this procedural error is to undo the narrowing
that was erroneously applied by restoring the originally requested
"Prefix: pt".

e. As to the "political road accident" referred to above: it is true
that this spelling reform - like any reform - has its opponents. In this
case, they are trying to prevent or delay the adoption of the reform in
some countries. (All of this is documented in the supplied references.)

Obviously the IESG should not take sides in such debates.

However, the registration as it currently stands suggests that the IESG
deliberately restricted the scope of the reform, away from the intent of
the designers. To make matters worse, there is no obvious reason for
such a restriction, let alone a valid reason. This might be interpreted
as taking sides with the opponents.

Of course this is not what was meant, but to avoid giving the wrong
impression it is better to stick with the stated intent of the reform
instead of going against it. Therefore the current set of three "pt-XX"
prefixes must be replaced with a single "Prefix: pt".


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