Re: (long) Making orthographies computer-ready (was *not* Telephoning Tamil)

From: John Cowan (
Date: Tue Jul 30 2002 - 07:32:07 EDT scripsit:

> The industry needs to wake up to the fact
> that the requirement that a language have an ISO-639 2-letter code before a
> locale can be created is a dead end.

These words deserve to be written up in letters of gold.

> Well, I'm pretty sure Hawaiian isn't going to get it,

It seems to me that if the request were backed by the State of Hawaii
(or one of its agencies) it would meet the ISO 639-1 criteria, save
perhaps for the number of speakers. Hawai'ian is an official language
of Hawaii, after all.

> Instead of asking
> for a 2-letter code, the engineers should have been looking at what it
> would take to make the software support a 3-letter code (which already
> exists in ISO 639-2).

Indeed, an arbitrary-length string should be supported. GNOME at least
seems to have no trouble with this: the art-lojban localization has not
run into any problems with its 10-character language code.

John Cowan                                <>    
Yakka foob mog.  Grug pubbawup zink wattoom gazork.  Chumble spuzz.
    -- Calvin, giving Newton's First Law "in his own words"

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