Appeal to ISO 639 RA in support of Elfdalian

Mark Davis ☕️ mark at
Wed Apr 20 09:47:23 CEST 2016


On Wed, Apr 20, 2016 at 5:26 AM, Doug Ewell <doug at> wrote:

> Mark Davis wrote:
> It is best not to include phrases like "but that seems to be a
>> political decision, not a linguistic one". Casting aspersions on
>> someone's objectivity generally just pisses them off, which doesn't
>> help to convince them.
> I thought the RA pretty much conceded in their rejection letter that it
> was a political decision: "The vast majority of languages covered by Part 3
> codes do not exist in a geographical or political context in which they
> fall under the 'roof' of a more dominant standardized language that already
> has a Part 2 code [i.e. unlike Elfdalian, which does exist in such a
> political context]."

​That's a good point. The reasoning in that quotation is —in the very
least! — unconvincing.

But again, if the goal is to convince someone, you don't want to write (in
effect) "you are disregarding solid linguistics in favor of petty politics"
(I know that is not what is written, but is likely how it will be read).
Instead, it needs to focus on technical issues:

   - ​T​
   he same linguistic standards for mutually incomprehensibility of
   languages need to be applied to developed countries as are applied to
   developing countries

   - In particular, simply because there is a "dominant standardized
   language" in a country should not disqualify the addition of a language
   code in that country, where it would have been given a language code if it
   were not.
   - etc.


> (Also one item: in CLDR, I suspect we're unlikely to support any new
>> language tags that are >3 letters. We've already agreed not to support
>> any 4-letter ones.)
> I'm not sure why this is. Four-letter subtags are permanently reserved, so
> it makes sense not to bother with them, but how does this logic extend to
> 5- to 8-letter subtags?

The issue is that  there is a lot of software that depends on the primary
language code being 2 or 3 letters, despite being otherwise BCP47-friendly.

> Then again, I know there is a CLDR ticket to ignore all non-generic
> variants, so perhaps CLDR doesn't mind diverging further from BCP 47.

​It is rather a subsetting of BCP47...

> --
> Doug Ewell | | Thornton, CO 🇺🇸
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