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Re: Language Identifier List up for comments

From: John Cowan <jcowan@reutershealth.com>
Date: Wed, 15 Dec 2004 13:17:17 -0500
To: "Elizabeth J. Pyatt" <ejp10@psu.edu>
Cc: www-international@w3.org
Message-ID: <20041215181717.GR31490@skunk.reutershealth.com>

Elizabeth J. Pyatt scripsit:

> I  don't think this is too hard to find out. I  went to  a Web site 
> for Guam, and it appears that the written form is identical to en-US.
> http://ns.gov.gu/government.html.
> http://ns.gov.gu/language.html

That's Guamanian English on its best behavior.  You probably won't find anything
on the Irish government web sites that is distinguishable from the best en-GB
(save when referring to particularly Irish institutions such as the Taoiseach),
yet en-IE and en-GB are tolerably distinguishable in writing otherwise.

> But my real complaint is that I think we need a more flexible 
> taxonomy to express language forms than just country codes. 

Such language tags can be registered by following the procedures laid
out in RFC 3066 (http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc3066.txt); the process
is intentionally streamlined and lightweight.  For example, we already
have en-boont and en-scouse for the Boontling jargon and the Scouse
(Merseyside) dialect.

> There certainly are for Hawaii, Louisiana and Texas, but the current 
> taxonomy has no way to represent these differences because Hawaii, 
> Louisiana and Texas do not have their own country code.

These too can be registered by anyone who cares to do so.

> It appears to be written in standard Latin American Spanish (vs. 
> Spain), but there is no code for that. 

When RFC 3066 is replaced by its successor (in very short order,
hopefully), the tags es-019 (Latin America) and es-419 (the
Americas generally) will become available.  These numeric codes are
defined by the U.N.  Statistics Division and are available online at
http://unstats.un.org/unsd/methods/m49/m49regin.htm .  I emphasize that
they are NOT YET valid.

> I  would love to see a serious look at a taxonomy for language codes 
> and regional variations, but it won't be based on any simple regional 
> criteria. I would also  like it to involve people from the 
> linguistics and dialectal communities as well as i18n specialists.

My intention is to start with a simple crude list and refine it stepwise.

-- 
Unless it was by accident that I had            John Cowan
offended someone, I never apologized.           jcowan@reutershealth.com
        --Quentin Crisp                         http://www.ccil.org/~cowan
Received on Wednesday, 15 December 2004 18:17:49 GMT

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