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

Andrew Glass (WINDOWS) Andrew.Glass at
Fri May 15 19:10:17 CEST 2015

Thanks Luc,

I would have preferred "Prefix: pt", however, for my purposes, I can live with the current solution. Getting the tag registered in a timely way is a higher priority for me at this point than the precise form of the prefix. Therefore, I'd prefer to follow Doug's suggestion and allow the registration to proceed as is before opening up the debate over the prefix once more.



-----Original Message-----
From: Luc Pardon [mailto:lucp at] 
Sent: Friday, May 15, 2015 6:07 AM
To: ietf-languages; Andrew Glass (WINDOWS)
Subject: Second correction to 'ao1990' : Prefix field - widening to 'pt'

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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