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Re: What to do with Gaulish ?

From: John Cowan <cowan@ccil.org>
Date: Mon, 13 Nov 2006 01:20:42 -0500
To: "Elizabeth J. Pyatt" <ejp10@psu.edu>
Cc: www-international@w3.org
Message-ID: <20061113062042.GA2527@ccil.org>

Elizabeth J. Pyatt scripsit:

> First, let me put on the flame-retardant suit...here goes!

I absolutely promise that this is not a flame.

> My main objection is that I am not seeing a systematic process where
> the appropriate linguistic community is ever consulted. There probably
> does need to be a "fr-cajun" tag (because you might have to use the
> "roa" Generic Romance tag otherwise), but in the current scenario,
> the following will likely happen:

> * Innocent researcher will submit the "fr-cajun" tag * List may discuss
> whether it should be "fr-us", "fr-us-LA", "fr-us-Cajun", "fr-caj" or
> "fr-cajun".

That can't happen under the new RFC 4646 rules.  People submit subtags
(in this case "cajun"), not whole tags.  If "cajun" were to be approved,
users would be free to write "fr-cajun" or "fr-US-cajun".  The others
are illegal.

However, in all probability we won't do it, because there is a draft 639-3
tag for Cajun French, namely "frc", and I at least will urge the user
to just go with that even though it cannot technically be blessed yet.

> Basically tags will be created haphazardly, and I suspect duplications
> will occur (e.g. fr-caj vs fr-LA).

"fr-caj" isn't valid, and fr-LA would mean Laotian French.  RFC 4646 is
much more generative and less chaotic than earlier versions were.

> There is also no mechanism in place to ensure that all French dialects
> (or Langue D'öil languages) get consistent tags.

The cure for that is to propose a coherent set yourself, or to encourage
others to do so.  Otherwise, we can only act by request: people ask for
the variant subtags they need.

> Even worse, the French linguistic community may ignore these ad hoc
> tags unless they were in the original consultation. One project may use
> the ad hoc tag they registered, but not all dialect projects will (or
> they'll be using an alternate system developed by the dialectologists
> together).

There is nothing any standards organization can do about people who
disregard the standards.

> Without the systematicity...what's the goal of registering these tags
> other than as a "feel-good" measure?

Not all requirements are comparative: some are merely descriptive.

> What are the actual consequences if I create my own tag for a very
> obscure form (maybe tell the other linguists) but not register it for
> world wide use?

There aren't any: the penalty for winning by cheating is winning by
cheating.  But in this case, not cheating is cheap:  use "-x-" before
your subtag, and it's unambiguously marked as private.

Babies are born as a result of the              John Cowan
mating between men and women, and most          http://www.ccil.org/~cowan
men and women enjoy mating.                     cowan@ccil.org
--Isaac Asimov in Earth: Our Crowded Spaceship
Received on Monday, 13 November 2006 06:20:57 UTC

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