Re: About names again...

From: Michael Everson (
Date: Wed Jan 07 1998 - 05:11:11 EST

I am very much in agreement with what John Cowan says.

>I think that although meaningful codes cannot be instantly meaningful to
>everyone, they are far superior to meaningless codes (whether numeric or
>letteral makes no difference). It requires some additional knowledge for an
>anglophone to realize why DE=Germany and CH=Switzerland, but how
>much worse if we all, not merely anglophones, had to memorize the ISO 3166
>equivalent codes 276 and 756 respectively! It is simply not true that such
>codes are solely the domain of machines: they leak into the Real World,
>as anyone with an email address outside the U.S. can plainly see.

My understanding is that the rationale for the implementation of the
numeric codes in ISO 3166 was that some countries not using the Latin
alphabet might prefer them. I think there is hardly a computer on the face
of the earth which doesn't have the Latin letters A-Z on it (though of
course the codes may be used on typewriters).

As regards ISO 15924, we _could_ add numeric codes to the draft standard,
though I see no compelling reason to do so (i.e., user requirement). The
user requirement for using mnemonic letters, however, is rather large.

Michael Everson, Everson Gunn Teoranta **
15 Port Chaeimhghein Íochtarach; Baile Átha Cliath 2; Éire/Ireland
Guthán: +353 1 478-2597    Facsa: +353 1 478-2597 (by arrangement)
27 Páirc an Fhéithlinn;  Baile an Bhóthair;  Co. Átha Cliath; Éire

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