[Ltru] Re: John Cowan throws in the towel on extlangs

"Doug Ewell" <dewell@roadrunner.com> Fri, 30 November 2007 06:24 UTC

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From: "Doug Ewell" <dewell@roadrunner.com>
To: "LTRU Working Group" <ltru@ietf.org>
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Date: Thu, 29 Nov 2007 22:24:33 -0800
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Subject: [Ltru] Re: John Cowan throws in the towel on extlangs
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John Cowan <cowan at ccil dot org> wrote:

> In practical terms, this means that (unless someone else wants to take 
> up the cause on the LTRU mailing list and see Bonnie Prince Charlie 
> come into his own again) that we will allow all 639-3 code elements to 
> be language subtags, and deprecate all the grandfathered forms like 
> "zh-yue" (Cantonese) in favor of just 'yue'.  Similarly, the currently 
> redundant sign languages like "sgn-US" will be deprecated in favor of 
> 'ase' and friends.  The existing language tags representing 
> macrolanguages of course remain intact.

Since I've been under the impression that extlangs were the only serious 
remaining issue, I hope we will soon see a draft-4646bis-10 that 
codifies the no-extlang decision and is otherwise as close as possible 
to WGLC-ready.  I need to do another 4645bis draft that reflects this 
decision and the (apparently unstoppaable) addition of EU and friends, 
and Id like that draft to be WGLC-ready as well.  It's almost December; 
enough is enough.

> IMO we should strongly consider adding a new informative (and mutable) 
> "Fallback" header in the registry which will inform people about 
> problematic cases like "cmn" and "arb" (Standard Arabic), instructing 
> them which language subtag to fall back to in cases of match failure. 
> These will have to be cherry-picked, like Suppress-Script, but Peter 
> Constable has estimated that there are no more than 15 such cases 
> actually in wide use.  For some macrolanguages, there is no dominant 
> variety, and no special consideration is as yet required; if new 
> dominant varieties come to exist in future, new Fallback headers can 
> be added.  RFC 4647bis can then be revised to explain how this header 
> MAY be used to enhance matching.

As much as I appreciate the rationale for this idea -- the difference 
between the two classes of macrolanguage are well-known -- I'm concerned 
about any additional cherry-picking.  We've seen too much controversy 
already over Suppress-Script, a feature that exists to help prevent 
taggers from making bad tagging decisions.  I feat there might be even 
less support for a feature that is meant to help tag recipients make 
better matching decisions.  I keep hearing that people will want to 
tailor their own fallback (Breton to French, etc.) independently of what 
the Registry says.  If we add this field, will anyone use it?

--
Doug Ewell  *  Fullerton, California, USA  *  RFC 4645  *  UTN #14
http://home.roadrunner.com/~dewell
http://www1.ietf.org/html.charters/ltru-charter.html
http://www.alvestrand.no/mailman/listinfo/ietf-languages  ˆ



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