Pending requests

Michael Everson everson at
Fri Nov 27 03:38:31 CET 2015

On 26 Nov 2015, at 23:31, Kent Karlsson <kent.karlsson14 at> wrote:

>>> Yes, but as Mark (and, I think, Shawn) say: this is of very marginal use, and should be at very low priority, and could wait, perhaps indefinitely.
>> To what end? This is a volunteer effort. What benefit is there in waiting? 
> Just that is does not appear particularly urgent.

It is an application made just like other applications. It is no different from my application for Cornu-English, or other applications I have made based on language versions I have worked with. What is it we are to wait for, with regard to Basic English?

>> The specific simple variety of English for which a subtag has been sought is precisely the one used on the Wikipedia, as defined there. en-wpsimple is well-defined by the Wikipedia. 
> Yes, but as I said: it is (more or less) for Wikipedia only (and then only for
> one or a few languages). It is basically useless for anyone else.

The Wikipedia is a big and important application, is it not? They have a parsing problem based on a non-standard naming convention. 

> [Regarding the CEFR scheme]
> >I think that ranking levels of simplicity is way outside the scope of 
> > our project. 
> In that case, "Ogden's Basic English" and 'wpsimple' would be "way outside
> the scope of our project" as well.

No, they aren’t. Our subtags describe linguistic entities, not hierarchies of language-learning and speaker competence. 

> > ISO 639 is codes for the representation of names of languages. 
> > Our subtags are too, just at a different level of granularity. 
> "<language X> 'subset' at level <n>"; e.g. 'es-levelB1' would be the tag
> for "Spanish intended for readers/listeners at CEFR proficiency level B1".
> That would be just as fine as "en-ogden" tag for "English according to
> Ogden's  Basic English", and the former would be *way* more useful,
> and the scheme is useable for any language, amplifying the usefulness
> of CEFR level variant subtags.

Scouse is Scouse. Basic English is Basic English. Basic English differs from Wikipedia’s Simple English and if there are other controlled vocabularies or forms then they differ from both. It is wrong-headed to try to figure out which “CEFR proficiency level” Ogden’s Basic English matches, because it doesn’t match any of them. It is defined by its own definitions, and CEFR learners of English are not constrained by Basic English’s rules. 

en-scouse points directly at Scouse. en-cornu points directly at Cornu-English/Anglo-Cornish/Cornish English. en-basiceng would point directly at Basic English. CEFR hierarchies have nothing to do with this. Our subtags point at things. I don’t think it is within our scope to pick a set of CEFR definitions and attempt to apply them (on the basis of no research) to one or more varieties of controlled vocabulary and syntax. The CEFR is ALL about learner competence with regard to standard language, and Basic English and Wikipedia Simple English are examples of controlled language (engineered language, not constructed language), not examples of standard language. 

Michael Everson *

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