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Re: 2 many language tags for Norwegian

From: Frank Ellermann <nobody@xyzzy.claranet.de>
Date: Wed, 30 Apr 2008 06:06:25 +0200
To: www-international@w3.org
Message-ID: <fv8r30$nhj$1@ger.gmane.org>

Leif Halvard Silli wrote:

> Germans are lucky that their language difference follow
> Geographical lines coverd by the United Nations.

If you are talking about languages, they rarely follow any
geographical lines, let alone lines acknowledged by the UN. 

It is fascinating to read the details about Moldavia when
it comes to the minorities in this region, and the areas
controlled by Transnistria (just an example).  

If you are talking about Web pages with written texts you'd
find that there are various regions where "de" or related
languages are used (BE and CH are some interesting cases),
you'd also find tags for related languages ("gsw" and "nds"
are examples, other examples are too hot to talk about it
without starting flamewars taking us back to Transnistria
65 years ago).

> If web standards was based on ISO 639-3 instead, then I
> had more to play with

Many more language subtags, yes.  Be careful what you wish
for, you might get it, see draft-ietf-ltru-4645bis (855 KB)

> since then I could have used nor-nbo for Norwegian Bokmål

No, there is no nor-nbo in ISO 639-3.  It has nor and nbo,
same idea as no and nb.  The alpha2 codes are only shorter,
and 26*25 is not good enough for all languages worldwide.

If you want to use nor instead of no, or nbo insted of nb,
then you could try to convince the LTRU folks that with
thousands of language codes about 400 duplicates no = nob
etc. are no serious problem (to lazy to check 400, likely
far less).

IMO "shortest wins" is good enough, this avoids a rather
obscure issue with a few ISO 639-2 alpha3 codes:
<http://www.loc.gov/standards/iso639-2/faq.html#3>  

> A German users is allowed to be "lazy" and only select
> "de". Then he will get all variants of "de".

Nope, she won't get say "nds" and "gsw".  Let alone "frr",
"frs", "dsb", "lsb", etc. for various unrelated languages
used in DE (in the direction of the no-SE hack for Sami
languages in NO mentioned by you, quite horrible, IMO).

> I see no reason why a Norwegian should not be allowed be
> the same kind of lazy.

They are allowed to be as lazy as they like, they also own
the pieces if it breaks.  When I want se I don't get no-SE,
hopefully I get se-NO.  If I want both I have to tell my
browser that it should tell servers that I want no and nb
and nn and se.  Similar I'd have to say that I want de and
da and nds and frr (all official languages in the DE state
next to DK).

> Unfortunatly, I must file a bug for the entire Mac OS X,
> since it is linked to how the language preferences works
> there.

Locales are again a different can of worms, it makes sense
if your browser picks the language of your locale if it has
no better info what to do - there ought to be an aggressive
privacy statement somewhere in the manual if it does this.

 Frank
Received on Wednesday, 30 April 2008 04:04:35 GMT

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