RE: In defense of Plane 14 language tags (long)

From: Kent Karlsson (
Date: Wed Nov 06 2002 - 10:32:27 EST

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    > I think it's time to remember the limited purpose for which Plane 14
    > tagging was created: plain-text protocol messages. The idea is that

    Well, not really. The Plane 0E (!) tag characters were invented solely
    for "political" reasons for ONE IETF working group. But not even that
    one IETF WG seems to have picked it up since. Note that for other IETF
    protocols (pure plain text encoded, but since it is a protocol, the
    text is parsed, dissected, and partially interpreted) language tagging
    is used, but it uses "ordinary" characters, actually limited to ASCII.
    See (for LDAP).

    > when contacting an IETF-protocol server, it should be able to report
    > back in various languages, using plain-text tagging to indicate which
    > language you are getting (or, if it reports in multiple languages,
    > which is which).
    > This was considered to be a situation where heavyweight (XML, etc.)
    > metadata was unnecessary:
    > --> RETR 32
    > <-- 522 LTAG{en}I have no clueLTAG{art-lojban}mi na jimpe

    To be of any use, you (or rather a program) whould have to parse,
    dissect, and partially interpret the character string (read the
    language tags and picking out a substring for display). The gain
    over using ordinary characters for language tags, as in XML or LDAP
    is too small, and the disadvantages too big (the tag characters are
    normally invisible, or (as yet) uninterpreted garbage). Yes, you
    chould shoehorn language tagging into a protocol not made to have
    language tagging by using the tag "characters"; but would it not
    be better to redesign the protocol (either a brand new one, or a
    backwards compatible one)?

    I think the tag "characters" have served their political purpose,
    and it is high time to deprecate them.

                    /Kent K

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