Re: Question about new locale language tags

From: Doug Ewell (
Date: Wed Dec 27 2006 - 09:33:51 CST

  • Next message: Marion Gunn: "Re: Off-topic: Non-text localization"

    Sorry, I need to make one correction.

    I wrote in response to Philippe Verdy:

    >> So for me, according to RFC4646, the "zh-min" full language tag still
    >> means something different from the possible "min" full language tag
    >> (that may eventually be built using the "min" language code
    >> standardized later in ISO 639, provided that it is registered in the
    >> language tag registry).
    > It cannot, because extlangs are derived from ISO 639 code elements
    > just as primary language subtags are.

    I misread Philippe's original sentence. The "zh-min" tag does indeed
    mean something different from "min" -- not just in the future, but right
    now, since "min" is an ISO 639-2 code element and therefore a primary
    language subtag.

    "min" refers to the language Minangkabau, which according to Ethnologue
    is spoken in Indonesia (not the Philippines as often stated).

    "zh-min" was originally registered under RFC 1766 in 1999 with the
    meaning "Min, Fuzhou, Hokkien, Amoy, or Taiwanese." "Min" is not a
    single language, but a classification of Chinese languages that includes
    Min Nan, Min Dong, Min Bei, and others. Apparently the original
    "zh-min" tag was either perceived to be too broad in scope, or
    deliberately intended to serve as the base for future "zh-min-???" tags,
    although such a base was not required by RFC 1766 or 3066. In any case,
    "zh-min-nan" was registered in 2001.

    These two do indeed have different meanings. However, this says nothing
    about the nature of primary vs. extended language subtags, because the
    "min" in "zh-min" is not an extlang -- it is just a substring of an
    indivisible grandfathered tag. We know this because "zh-min" is on the
    list of grandfathered tags.

    The same goes for "zh-min-nan" and all the other grandfathered tags:
    they are not intended to be broken into subtags and analyzed, even if
    doing so would result in a syntactically well-formed RFC 4646 tag.

    The intent of RFC 1766 was for registered tags to be considered atomic.
    Only tags generated from a combination of ISO 639 and 3166 code
    elements, such as "fr-CH", could be considered as the sum of their
    parts. RFC 4646 regularizes this, but also permits the use of valid RFC
    1766/3066 tags like "zh-min" that predate RFC 4646.

    I hope this helps. I apologize again for the earlier misreading.
    Further discussion of RFC 4646 and 4646bis really does belong on the
    LTRU mailing list.

    Doug Ewell  *  Fullerton, California, USA  *  RFC 4645  *  UTN #14

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