Appeal to ISO 639 RA in support of Elfdalian

Mats Blakstad mats.gbproject at
Sat Apr 23 13:02:10 CEST 2016

2016-04-23 12:08 GMT+02:00 Peter Constable <petercon at>:

> *From:* Mats Blakstad [mailto:mats.gbproject at]
> *Sent:* Saturday, April 23, 2016 1:24 AM
> [snip]
> > I completely understand that argument. However, it is the process that
> the RA
> > themselves have led, giving special requirements for Elfdalian for
> assigning a
> > language code that are not given for other languages, that put us in
> this situation.
> It is _*the openness of the RA’s process*_ that has enabled us to be
> discussing this at all! Otherwise, you would have received a rejection
> without any idea as to why or as to who else provided what input.

I've not myself, and I've not heard anyone else, complain about the
openness of the RA. I don't know how it stands compared with other ISO
bodies, but my own experience was that they used a lot of time to publish
comments they got in the review period, I had to write many times to them
before they were published, and I think they should have facilitated more
active discussions about the application in the review period so we didn't
need to wait for 12 months maybe because of misunderstanding. I think the
requirements to get an ISO code should have been much more clear and it
would be great to know more clearly how the people of the RA is selected
and what their mandate is. I'm overall not very impressed by the openness
in the process, I think they could have done more, but I don't have much to
compare with, and I guess the process was fair enough, even though it is
very time-consuming when they only approve codes once a year.

I'm of course happy that they publish comments from the review period in
the end, and that they've made a clear statement about why they rejected
the application. However, even if they had rejected the application without
the same openness, we would still be in this situation, as we would still
know it would be wrong to register Elfdalian as a variant of Swedish, and
we would still have the language subtag discussion. So no, the reason we're
discussion this now, is not because of the openness of the RA, but _*because
they've rejected an application for a language code that obviously deserves
to be encoded as a language*_.

> But now some of you here seem to want that openness to be by-passed
> because it suits your purposes. We can’t have it both ways.
I'm not sure why communicating to the RA would "by-pass" openness; I think
opposite, more communication between institutions means more openness.
Efldalian had a review period where people could give their input, they can
record the letter with this application to maintain openness. What they
want to do with the issue is really up to them, but I think from the view
of IETF it can be a good idea to send it if creating of a language subtag
is a problem to give the RA chance to consider better the implications of
their own decision. If creating a language subtag is not a problem then we
can of course skip the letter and just assign the code.
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