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RE: Article for wide review: Choosing a language tag

From: CE Whitehead <cewcathar@hotmail.com>
Date: Mon, 12 Oct 2009 14:52:51 -0400
Message-ID: <BLU109-W283D45AC2558DFF55F03DEB3C80@phx.gbl>
To: <ishida@w3.org>, <www-international@w3.org>

Hi, I've read all but the last two sections (on private use and grandfathered subtags) of "Choosing a Language Tag"

( http://www.w3.org/International/questions/qa-choosing-language-tags);

most of my comments are on the English, although a few are on content:

* * *

Answer to Question at top, "Which language tag is . . . ?", par 4 (ORDER/ORGANIZATION)

"Particular thanks are due to Addison Phillips and Mark Davis, authors of BCP 47, for help in producing this article."

{ COMMENT: this is not really part of the answer to the above question although Mark Davis and Addison Phillips have worked hard on BP 47;
If Mark and Addison have worked hard on the whole article, this should be moved to near the top of the article, immediately following the opening paragraph, and before the first question is presented!}

Answer to Question at top, "Which language tag is . . . ?" par 7, last sentence (ENGLISH)

"Your search will have matched against the Description field. Check that the type of this record is language. What you are looking for is the value in the Subtag field, ie. fr."

{ COMMENT: I would have liked to have seen at least single quotation marks around 'fr'.
Also, is it clear from the last sentence that 'fr' is going to be used in the language tag??
>= "The language tag is formed using the value in the subtag field, which is 'fr'."

Answer to Question at top, "Which language tag is . . . ?", par 8, sentence 1 (ENGLISH)

"The rest of this article will provide advice for choosing primary language and possibly other types of subtag. Note that not all the decisions about how to create a language tag are straightforward. There are circumstances where usage will dictate which of various possibilities you should follow."

{ COMMENT: Because there may be more than one subtag following the primary language subtag in a language tag, I think "subtags" should be plural;
also I think that "primary language subtag" might benefit from a definite article since there is one primary language subtag"--thus it is in some sense specific

"The rest of this article will provide advice for choosing the primary language and possibly other types of subtags."

Answer to Question at top, "Which language tag is . . . ?", par 9 CONTENT

"There are tools available which provide additional help while searching the registry, such as Richard Ishida's Language Subtag Lookup tool."

{COMMENT: this could be more specific (we just discussed these at ietf-languages):

for example,

>= "There are tools which search through a copy of the registry for a particular description, etc. . . . "

You might even go on to say, "a reasonably up-to-date copy of the registry. . ."


* * *
Decision 1, par 2, first bullet CONTENT

"'Often it is not clear which language identifier to use. For example, what most people call Punjabi in Pakistan actually has the code 'lah', and formal name 'Lahnda'.'"

??? As you note in your utlity

'lah' (lahnda) is a macrolanguage and punjabi as used in Pakistan can get a more specific subtag!
?? or am I confused; lahnda is used widely and not just in Pakistan; punjabi or western panjabi is only used in Pakistan; several other varieties of lahnda are used in Pakistan however but these are not called Punjabi? So is this the best example??

Another example might be Persian-Farsi-Dari: if you search for 'Persian,' you want a specific language subtag, 'pes' probably (identified/described as 'farsi'; I once thought that 'Western Persian' was going to be added as a second description field for 'pes' but I guess this is a can of worms right now and has already been discussed to the fullest extent possible at ietf-languages.; see:



* * *

Decision 1, par 2, first bullet, par 2 ENGLISH

"You could look up language information in the SIL Ethnologue and cross-referencing with Wikipedia.

??? "cross-referencing" has no direct object here but should normally take one; also it's not even clear whether it's the audience of this sentence
or SIL Ethnologue who will be doing the cross-referencing (that is the subject antecedent is not clear)
perhaps because the two verbs ("look up" and "cross-referencing") are not syntactically parallel--which they should be if 'you' is the subject for both!
>= "You could look up language information in the SIL Ethnologue and cross-reference it with information in Wikipedia."

Decision 1, par 2, second bullet, par 2 PUNCTUATION

"For example, ku (Kurdish) is a macrolanguage that encompasses ckb (Central Kurdish), kmr (Northern Kurdish), and sdh (Southern Kurdish),"


There should be a full-stop, and not a comma, at the end of the above paragraph.

Decision 1, par 2, third bullet, par 2 ENGLISH

"You should look for a more specific subtag for the language you are wanting to use. Unfortunately, the registry doesn't provide any pointers for this."

{ COMMENT: Awkward; why "you are wanting"? Why not just ""you wish"?
Also "use" sound vague to me; I prefer "specify" here. Also, what "registry"? Do you mean "the language subtag registry"/BP 47 or do you mean this Q&A article?

>= "You should look for a more specific subtag for the language you wish to specify. Unfortunately, this registry {???this article??? the language subtag registry???} does not provide any pointers for doing so."

* * *

Decision 5, par 4, first bullet, par 2 ENGLISH

"If you have a good reason, you could use a variant subtag with different subtags, eg. cmn-Latn-pinyin would be a legal to say Mandarin Chinese written with pinyin."

{ COMMENT: ?? "would be a legal to say ???" Where is the noun that must follow an article such as 'a'?? I only see an adjective, 'legal;'
I suppose you mean 'legal way'??

>= "would be a legal {or proper??} way to indicate Mandarin Chinese content written using the pinyin romanization system."

Hope I did not get too wordy.

Decision 5, par 4, first bullet, par 3 ENGLISH

"Although zh, bo and Latn are specified, this is a minimum requirement. It is also possible to include other subtags, such as a region subtag, in the language tag (where appropriate), eg. zh-Latn-TW-pinyin."

{ COMMENT for clarity, I'd say (even though you may feel you have said this above),
"Although either zh or bo followed by Latn are specified . .>"


C. E. Whitehead


> From: ishida@w3.org
> To: www-international@w3.org
> Date: Fri, 9 Oct 2009 19:25:29 +0100
> Subject: Article for wide review: Choosing a language tag
> http://www.w3.org/International/questions/qa-choosing-language-tags
> Comments are being sought on this article prior to final release. Please send any comments to www-international@w3.org (subscribe). We expect to publish a final version in one to two weeks.
> ============
> Richard Ishida
> Internationalization Lead
> W3C (World Wide Web Consortium)
> http://www.w3.org/International/
> http://rishida.net/
Received on Monday, 12 October 2009 18:53:25 UTC

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