Re: Tagging orthographic systems (was: (iso639.186) the

From: John Hudson (
Date: Wed Sep 13 2000 - 18:43:29 EDT

At 01:59 PM 9/13/2000 -0800, wrote:

>>Would it be too radical to
>>suggest that 'language codes', per se, are one of the least useful things
>>for IT tagging? A blind code, that offers no information about
>>script variant, or even whether a language is written at all, simply does
>>not convey enough information by itself. To be useful at all it needs to
>>combined with other codes that indicate combinations of script, language
>>and orthography.

>Yes, I think it would be too radical. You need to ask what kind of data and
>what kinds of processing are going to be involved. E.g. if you're creating
>a kiosk system with verbal prompts and a voice-recognition input system,
>you care about the speech variety of the user, but not at all about
>anything to do with writing.

Yes, but speech variety is simply another type of information that might be
a candidate for tagging, that is, information about how a language is used.
My point is that the ISO639 codes and the Ethnologue codes are abtracted
from particular language usage, and it is the particular usage that most
often needs to be indicated.

John Hudson

Tiro Typeworks A man was meant to be doubtful about
Vancouver, BC himself, but undoubting about the truth; this has been exactly reversed. G.K. Chesterton

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