Re: [Ltru] rechartering to handle 639-6 (was FW: Anomalyinupcomingregistry)

Peter Constable <> Wed, 15 July 2009 20:31 UTC

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From: Peter Constable <>
To: "Broome, Karen" <>, Kent Karlsson <>, "" <>, LTRU Working Group <>
Date: Wed, 15 Jul 2009 13:27:44 -0700
Thread-Topic: [Ltru] rechartering to handle 639-6 (was FW: Anomalyinupcomingregistry)
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Subject: Re: [Ltru] rechartering to handle 639-6 (was FW: Anomalyinupcomingregistry)
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Karen: do you want a list of (order of magnitude) 10,000 language variants for users in the film & television industry to choose from, or just those that they need?

What we have now _should_ be able to deliver what they need.

One thing that an atomic, fixed-length tag does *not* do well: provide individual facets of the total information denoted -- the language, the region, the script - except by relying on carrying tables of data in which those can be looked up.


From: [] On Behalf Of Broome, Karen
Sent: Wednesday, July 15, 2009 8:37 AM
To: Kent Karlsson;; LTRU Working Group
Subject: Re: [Ltru] rechartering to handle 639-6 (was FW: Anomalyinupcomingregistry)

For what it's worth, the film and television world does have a pretty heavy requirement for dialect distinctions. We also have a need to identify spoken and written variants. ISO 639-6 also provides a fixed-length tag, which can be advantageous in some situations. While I tend to see ISO 639-6 as an interesting alternative to xml:lang and not necessarily something I'd use within xml:lang, I wanted to correct the assumption that dialect tagging is obscure and the distinction between spoken and written variants is not useful.


Karen Broome

-----Original Message-----
From: on behalf of Kent Karlsson
Sent: Wed 7/15/2009 6:27 AM
To:; 'LTRU Working Group'
Subject: Re: [Ltru] rechartering to handle 639-6 (was FW: Anomalyinupcomingregistry)

Den 2009-07-15 09.00, skrev "Debbie Garside" <>:

> Well for starters, there are separate codes for Catalan and Valencian :-)

So does BCP 47 (well, nearly):

There is nothing in principle hindering a registration of a variant subtag
specifically for "true" Catalan (no value judgement implied).

> And, I rather like the way ISO 639-6 deals with variants of Chinese.

639-3 also deals with "variants" of Chinese (separate languages, really).
How does 639-6 do it differently (apart from using 4-letter codes instead of
3-letter codes)?

> Perhaps you would like to tell me how many of the 7000+ codes of ISO 639-3
> will be used.  My guess is approximately 2-300 at present but over time more
> and more.  The answer is the same for ISO 639-6.
> Essentially, all the reasons for including ISO 639-6 are the same as for
> including ISO 639-3.  Unless of course, you think that ISO 639-3 is perfect
> and defines all languages distinctly and that anything else cannot, is not,
> and definitely is not a language.  Then of course you have to decide that
> BCP 47 will only deal with languages and not dialects.

BCP 47 does deal with dialects, using variant subtags. However, it is very
very far from systematic or comprehensive. It requires individual
registration of each variant. I would venture to guess that that process
will never result in a systematic or (in some sense) comprehensive set
of variant subtags for dialects. On the other hand, the call for tagging
dialects separately, currently seems fairly small amongst the consumers of

    /kent k

> Then, and only then,
> may you exclude ISO 639-6.
> Debbie

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