Re: traditional vs simplified chinese

From: John Cowan (
Date: Fri Feb 14 2003 - 12:40:27 EST

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    Andrew C. West scripsit:

    > On a related matter, I was wondering about language tagging for Chinese. "zh-CN"
    > and "zh-TW" are used quite frequently, but what do they imply ?

    They are usually (mis)used to mean "Mandarin, simplified characters" and
    "Mandarin, traditional characters" respectively. IMHO, the language tagging
    list needs to create zh-hant and zh-hans (and perhaps zh-latn) tags.

    > What if I am writing a Chinese
    > page here in England - should I put "zh-UK" or should I make a political
    > decision as to whose side I'm on, and use "zh-CN" or "zh-TW" ?

    If used correctly these should imply the variety of Chinese in use.
    To overdo it slightly, the tag zh-yue-taishan-us-ny-nyc could mean "the
    kind of Cantonese they speak in New York's Chinatown". In fact this
    tag would need to be registered (i.e. get past Michael Everson) before
    it would be valid; so far we have zh-yue, but no further granularity
    is currently valid.

    zh-uk would therefore be the U.K. dialect of Chinese, probably but not
    necessarily Mandarin Chinese. Likewise nv-dk would be the Danish dialect
    of Navajo. :-) These are allowed because tags with the forms xx, xxx,
    xx-yy, and xxx-yy (where xx and xxx are ISO 639 codes and yy are ISO
    3166 country codes) are in effect pre-registered.

    > On the other hand, "zh-simplified" and "zh-traditional" are sometimes found.
    > These tags are less politically charged, but miss out on mixed
    > simplified/traditional pages. Is there a "zh-mixed" ?

    These tags are not registered, i.e. bogus.

    LEAR: Dost thou call me fool, boy?      John Cowan
    FOOL: All thy other titles    
                 thou hast given away:
          That thou wast born with.

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