RE: the Ethnologue

From: Ayers, Mike (
Date: Wed Sep 13 2000 - 14:00:51 EDT

> From: Arnt Gulbrandsen []

> Are there valid reasons why the imperfect but comprehensive
> needs to be a
> standard? I can see one reason for it _not_ to be a standard:
> A list can
> be added to faster, so it's easier for a list to be truly
> comprehensive.

        Yes - consistency, for starters. Even if the requirements for
adding languages are very liberal, the procedures for organizing the list
could still be kept very tight, thus ensuring that data which relies on such
a list remains interpretable. By using an inclusive hierarchy, the impact
of evolutionary changes could be minimized (e.g. Hopi text is marked as
"Native American general" instead of "Native American, unclassified" so that
when the Hopi tag gets added, existing text is inexactly, but correctly,

        Next is politics. A standards body could negotiate the sometimes
sensitive political issues regarding language classifications competently -
a list could not handle the situation at all, IMHO.

        Finally, there's that standard thing. It was earlier stated that
the parties interested in a comprehensive set of language tags include
government agencies, which are typically required to use standards.


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