Re: Request for Registration of i-art and i-und

From: Marion Gunn (
Date: Mon Oct 26 1998 - 07:45:13 EST

Ar 02:35 -0000 1998-10-26, scríobh Martin J. Duerst:
>Hello Sean,
>Many thanks for your detailled comments on my registration requests.
>Basically, the idea behind everything is as follows:
>- We need some tag(s) now to make it easy to e.g. include
> a piece of arbitrary stuff into an English document, by
> just labeling that piece in a special way to say that this
> is not English.
>- We still have some hopes that 639-2 will at one point make it,
> so to the extent possible, we would like to choose a solution
> now that allows easy change to 639-2 when that comes out.
> But because 639-2 may be changed, we of coures can't guarantee
> anything.
>I also have to say that I don't know exactly what the current state
>is for 639-2, maybe somebody has some recent info?
>Regards, Martin.

Hi, Martin, As a newly-appointed (August 1998) mamber of the IS0 639
Registration Authority Advisory Group, and also as Ireland's representative
in ISO/TC37/S2/WG1 (which has responsibility for new standard ISO 639-1,
the contents of which are related to those of ISO 639-1), I can give you
the following update.

On 1998-05-20 Mme Sophie Clivio, Département Normes, Central Secretarial,
wrote a letter to all National Bodies, informing us that ISO/FDIS 639-2 had
failed to receive sufficient votes to pass. Since then, its editor John
Byrum, of the Library of Congress <>, has, I understand, been
going around, contacting all of the National Bodies who voted against his
draft, and amending it to meet their requirements.

That's about all I can tell you. To see if anyone else can help you out
with more information, I am copying this message to Håvard Hjulstad
<> who is the new editor of 639-1, as well as to mailing lists, and,
because I know that many people on those lists also belong to ISO/TC37 and
ISO/T46 WGs and are concerned to ensure both 639-1 and 639-2 ultimately
make good standards.

With best wishes,
Marion Gunn

For the benefit of those not on the list, I
attach a previous message, giving the background to the above discussion.


Date: Wed, 25 Feb 1998 15:50:53 +0100
From: Harald Tveit Alvestrand <>
Subject: Language registration (2): i-default
Mime-Version: 1.0
Precedence: bulk
Status: U

Per the procedures, this proposal has now been discussed on this list
for 2 weeks; the reviewer (Michael) can now send the registration to
the IANA if he approves the registration.

So let's follow the procedures once more.
I've updated the registration based on the discussion; I hope this
version makes more sense to all concerned.


Name of requester : Harald T. Alvestrand
E-mail address of requester:
Tag to be registered : i-default

English name of language : Default Language Context

Native name of language (transcribed into ASCII): Default Language Context

Reference to published description of the language (book or article):
             RFC 2277
NOTE: The Default Language Context is not a language, but a name
for a situation where the user's language preferences are unknown.
Using a language tag for this situation is a convenience for protocol
developers and users, NOT a recommendation that this should ever be
used if alternatives are available.

Text in the <i-default> context should be presented in very simple and
basic English, as this is likely to be understood by the greatest number of
people, and may be supplemented with text in other languages at need.

This clarification will be inserted into an updated version of
RFC 2277 when that document is updated.

Below is the section of RFC 2277 that defines
Default Language.

4.5. Default Language

   When human-readable text must be presented in a context where the
   sender has no knowledge of the recipient's language preferences (such
   as login failures or E-mailed warnings, or prior to language
   negotiation), text SHOULD be presented in Default Language.

   Default Language is assigned the tag "i-default" according to the
   procedures of RFC 1766. It is not a specific language, but rather
   identifies the condition where the language preferences of the user
   cannot be established.

   Messages in Default Language MUST be understandable by an English-
   speaking person, since English is the language which, worldwide, the
   greatest number of people will be able to get adequate help in
   interpreting when working with computers.

   Note that negotiating English is NOT the same as Default Language;
   Default Language is an emergency measure in otherwise unmanageable

   In many cases, using only English text is reasonable; in some cases,
   the English text may be augumented by text in other languages.

I hope this is to the satisfaction of all (or at least a "workable
level of dissatisfaction").

Harald Tveit Alvestrand, Maxware, Norway

-- Marion Gunn Everson Gunn Teoranta 27 Páirc an Fhéithlinn; Baile an Bhóthair; Co. Átha Cliath; Éire Gutháin: +353 1 283-9396, +353 1 478-2597, 15 Port Chaeimhghein Íochtarach; Baile Átha Cliath 2; Éire (Ireland)

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