Record for Spanglish variant

Luc Pardon lucp at
Thu Jan 5 20:42:10 CET 2017

On 05-01-17 03:22, David Starner wrote:
> On Wed, Jan 4, 2017 at 5:38 PM Caoimhin O Donnaile
> <caoimhin at <mailto:caoimhin at>> wrote:
>     If it is decided to introduce an extendible mechanism (?), would it be
>     sensible to include bilingual dictionaries and phrasebooks as part of
>     the same mechanism?
> I wouldn't think so. Those have two clearly distinct languages in them,
> and should be recorded as such. Any detailed transcription would clearly
> separate the two languages at the word or phrase level, and have no
> problem doing so.

   I agree, and that is precisely one of the reasons why I don't think
that an extensible mechanism for code-switching/hybrid languages is a
good idea.

   Sooner rather than later a well-meaning dictionary publisher will use
it to tag his product, thereby (ab)using the mechanism for things it was
not intended for.

   What happens here is that we expect that publisher - or any given
tagger - to study the intended meaning of our extension in depth, and
then make a judgment whether his mixed language text meets the criteria
for defining an "hybrid" that we had in mind when we designed a
mechanism for tagging them.

   I think that is expecting too much, and that therefore he should not
be left alone to make that judgment. This kind of judgments, which
require intimate knowledge of the various RFC's as well as linguistic
considerations, is precisely what this list was supposed to make.

   Michael has demonstrated on this list that Spanglish is indeed
sufficiently "special" to tell a Spanglish text apart from any other
mixture of English and Spanish words. Once we are there, we may then as
well assign a regular subtag for it.

   Extensible mechanisms are fine when no such judgment is involved, as
is the case with the script subtag. It would be hard to make mistakes
here, and therefore it is appropriate that a separate registration of -
say - "ru-Latn" is not needed.

   However, hybrid languages are a totally different animal, and I think
separate registration for each of them - and the oversight of this list
that comes with it - is really needed to avoid tags spinning out of control.

   The number of hybrid languages like Spanglish may be very large, but
that is a poor excuse to delegate our responsibility to the tagger. We
should be perfectly capable to handle them one by one, as they come our way.


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