Re: New Default Language paragraph

Patrik Faltstrom (
Thu, 27 Nov 1997 23:15:04 +0100 (MET)

Date: Thu, 27 Nov 1997 23:15:04 +0100 (MET)
From: Patrik Faltstrom <>
Subject: Re: New Default Language paragraph
In-reply-to: <>
To: =?iso-8859-1?Q?Martin_J=2E_D=FCrst?= <>
Cc:, ietf-charsets@INNOSOFT.COM
Message-id: <Pine.GSO.3.96.971127225953.16127B-100000@nix>

First, I am very very sorry for responding to this _now_, in late
november, and not earlier. It is actually the truth that I found a new
mailbox that procmail handled and I had forgot...

Anyway, I just have to state my view on what default language is, as I was
forced to implement default language when working in the bi-lingual
environment of Quebec in Canada. That was in the case of directory
services, but it is about the same thing as the email environment
discussed here, as we used default language when the server was sending a
search result back to the user, and the user had not specified the
language. We actually did send back alternative versions, each specified
with a correct language specification, but one alternative was the default

On Mon, 20 Oct 1997, Martin J. Dürst wrote:

> So you should probably say:
>     Messages in Default Language MUST be understandable by an English-
>     speaking person, since in this way, the greatest nuber of people
>     worldwide will be able to get adequate help in interpreting the
>     messages when working with computers.
> Note that I also put in "worldwide" to make it clear that that's
> what we care about, and not some local situation.
> Also, I have put in a "the messages" to have an object for
> "interpreting". Norvegian, or Harald in particular, seem to
> like implicit references.

A company in Quebec often have two names. One in English and one in
French. One of these is the main name of the comany, the default, and it
is often _NOT_ the english one.

So, for a company, the name of the company was defined like this:

  English: Information Center
   French: Centre Informatique (sorry if the example is misspelled/wrong)
  Default: Information Center

In another case, it was the french name that was the default, i.e. which
was presented to non-english and non-french users. It was the _owner_ of
the record that made the descision of what was the default value.

This was a requirement from the Canadian government, i.e. that the default
value can not be english, but instead any language, and it is the producer
of the record that makes the descision of what it should be.

Now, I remember very clearly what Harald told me when I told him this,
that the value is of no use for the receiver as he doesn't know what
language the value is in, but in the case of names of persons, companies
etc, it doesn't matter what language it is in, it is the main name of the
company which then might have translations into other languages.

So, when talking about directory services, I clearly would like to be able
to use the default language for a fallback value which the owner/producer
of the record chooses what language it is.


--Boundary (ID uEbHHWxWEwCKT9wM3evJ5w)