RE: CLDR locales: Filipino (fil/ph?) Pilipino/Tagalog (tl/tlg)

From: Peter Constable (
Date: Mon Dec 27 2004 - 18:12:10 CST

  • Next message: Peter Constable: "RE: CLDR locales: Filipino (fil/ph?) Pilipino/Tagalog (tl/tlg)"

    > From: []
    > Behalf Of Philippe Verdy

    > According to many sources, Filipino is the official language of the
    > Philippins, which has been standardized years after ISO639 had
    > standardized
    > its 2-letter and 3-letter codes for Filipino, Pilipino, and Tagalog...

    > - Filipino is the successor of Pilipino, and is given the 3-letters
    > "fil" in ISO-639-2. This is a mix of Pilipino, English, Spanish,
    > and other regional dialects from other important minorities of the
    > like Malay and Chinese. It has many difference with Pilipino, but
    > unfortunately, ISO-639-2 has mixed the two languages in the same code.
    > opinion is that the "Pilipino" defined in ISO-639-2 is incorrect, and
    > should be listed under the "tl" and "tlg" code row as an alias of

    First of all, this is somewhat off topic for the Unicode list.

    Secondly, "Filipino" and "Pilipino" are both labels used for a
    socially-engineered language designated as the national language of the
    Philippines. "Pilipino" is not a distinct spoken language; I don't think
    it's really appropriate to refer to "Filipino" as a mix of "Pilipino"
    and other languages.

    Thirdly, in purely linguistic terms, there probably is not any basis for
    considering either "Filipino" or "Pilipino" to be a distinct language
    from Tagalog. Even so, a distinct identity and status have been given to
    "Pilipino" / "Filipino", and there has been an official program of
    language engineering to develop "Pilipino" / "Filipino" as a separate
    language. On that basis, ISO 639 encodes "Filipino; Pilipino" distinct
    from Tagalog. It does not make any more or less sense to identify
    "Pilipino" with Tagalog than it does to identify "Filipino" with

    Finally, as for the distinction between "Pilipino" and "Filipino", my
    understanding is that the former label was the accepted term for the
    designated official language in the 1970s, while in the 1980s "Filipino"
    became preferred. There may have been changes in what is considered the
    preferred linguistic form the official language should take, but there
    has only ever been a distinction between the various indigenous
    languages and one official language. I see no reason to distinguish
    "Filipino" and "Pilipino".

    (Searching on "Filipino +Pilipino" returns some useful info; e.g.

    > For today applications, we need to make the distinction between modern
    > Tagalog or Pilipino (code "tl" or "tlg") and Filipino (code "fil").

    I would say, we need to make a distinction between modern Tagalog on the
    one hand, and the national language, known in different contexts as
    "Filipino" or "Pilipino", on the other.

    > I have
    > seen several applications that want a two-letter codes reuse the "tl"
    > incorrectly for Filipino

    I would concur that it is incorrect to use "tl" for Filipino.

    > - using the country code or variant code in a locale code to create a
    > locale
    > identifier for Filipino: "tl-PH",

    I agree that it is incorrect to use "tl-PH" to refer to Filipino.

    > - and a region or variant subcode to designate the "pure" Tagalog
    > "tl-PH-tlg"

    The string "tl-PH-tlg" is not endorsed or valid under any part of ISO
    639 or under RFC 1766 or RFC 3066 (or the proposed replacement, for that
    matter). Either "tl" or "tlg" alone are sufficient to refer to Tagalog.

    > Other applications are trying to use the 2-letter codes of the
    > for its official Filipino language "ph", because "ph" is still
    > (reserved) in ISO-639.

    This is not good practice, and not to be followed. There is no alpha-2
    ISO 639-1 identifier for Filipino. Both alpha-2 and alpha-3 identifiers
    were requested for Filipino, but the ISO 639 JAC approved only an
    alpha-3 identifier (no evidence was presented that the criteria for ISO
    639-1 were met).

    > The problem is that this is informal, and non standard. If ISO639 is
    > amended, it would be good to add the 639-1 2-letter code "ph" for
    > "Filipino"
    > (already coded "fil" in ISO-639-2/B or -2T), and to change the mapping
    > "Pilipino" as an alias of Tagalog (rather than an alias of Filipino.)

    IMO, there is no need for any change in ISO 639. There may well be a
    need to change proprietary implementations that do not conform to

    > Now comes the problem of tagging localized resources for the
    > can
    > we use "ph" today? or must we use only "fil" or "fil-PH"?

    The alpha-2 symbol "ph" is not valid for use at this time for
    identifying any language in protocols that follow any part of ISO 639 or
    that follow RFC 3066.

    Peter Constable

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