Questions: locales; CLDR process; ISO-639 (again)

From: Donald Z. Osborn (
Date: Tue Feb 28 2006 - 19:35:04 CST

  • Next message: Philippe Verdy: "Re: Türkic letters/script adding proposal"

    Alberto Escudero-Pascual and Louise Berthilson of IT46+ are refining a locale
    generator tool, and as part of giving some feedback to them on it there are
    several questions that I wanted to raise with the Unicode community (as the
    Consortium manages CLDR).

    1. What if a group has a calendar not yet provided for in the locale format? We
    have several cases where there are different week lengths (Igbo and some other
    groups use 4-day traditional week; Bamileke have an 8-day traditional week;
    there are some smaller groups in Togo that have 5 or 6 day weeks; there are
    others). Generally these exist alongside the 7-day week used worldwide, which
    may complicate the issue.

    2. What is the appropriate ISO-639 code to use for locales?
    2a. In some cases SIL and Ethnologue define several languages represented in
    ISO/DIS-639-3 for a single language category in ISO-639-1 or 2. There may not
    be a simple answer, but my thought is tht in cases where the ISO-639-1 or 2
    coded language has variants in ISO/DIS-639-3 defined more or less by country,
    it makes sense to use the 1 or 2 code plus the country code rather than the 3
    2b. An example is Kpelle spoken in the Liberia-Guinea border area (it is also
    known as Guerze in Guinea). There is an ISO-639-2 code, "kpe," and separate
    ISO/DIS-639-3 codes for Kpelle of Liberia, "xpe," and Kpelle or Guerze of
    Guinea, "gkp."My thought is that "kpe-LR" & "kpe-GN" are preferable to "xpe"
    and "gkp" for locales.
    2c. Part of this gets back to the definition of what is a language, but for
    purposes of software localization it may be simpler to go for the higher level
    of aggregation and distinguish by country (which it seem one has to do anyway).
    Even this may not be satisfactory in all cases as there are often significant
    dialect (or language) differences in a language (or "macrolanguage" in SIL's
    system) within a country.
    2d. In general is ISO/DIS-639-3, as a draft standard, to be used as a last
    resort in making locale data?

    3. On the process:
    3a. What is the review process for the locales once submitted to CLDR? I assume
    there is a public review period.
    3b. Who ultimately approves them?
    3c. Can they be amended?

    4. Going back to ISO-639 in general (I know this subject has been discused
    before but please bear with me), is there going to be any kind of feedback
    between the processes of developing locales and localization on one hand and
    amending the list of ISO-639 codes on the other? I recall there being some
    mention of a block on new ISO-69-1 and 2 codes, or that a 1 code will not be
    given where there is a 2 code, but that *maybe* a new 1 and 2 code could be
    given (Runyakitara might be a candidate for the latter). Also mention of
    possible additional ISO-639 codes beyond the three ranges already. What is the
    latest on all this?

    Thanks in advance.

    Don Osborn
    PanAfrican Localisation Project

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Tue Feb 28 2006 - 19:37:42 CST