[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>
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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://www.alvestrand.no/mailman/listinfo/ietf-languages  ˆ

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