Language tags redux (was: Re: About cultural/languages communities flags)

Philippe Verdy verdy_p at
Fri Feb 13 11:09:52 CST 2015

I do not propose it as a "language markup" but only as "visible" icons
(independant of the language markup used in text), similar to RIS icons in
the Emoji set.

This is *not* the same usage. In other words, these icons may be rendered
with *translated* levels inside, or localized locally to the appropriate
culture (just like flag icons) to represent the same "referenced language"
(not necessarily the same "used language" in the document, with the
language markup...

2015-02-13 17:12 GMT+01:00 Ken Whistler <kenwhistler at>:

> Philippe may have overlooked the fact that this has been tried (years ago)
> in the
> Unicode Standard. See: language tags.
> The syntax for those even goes beyond just ISO 639-2/3 to incorporate
> the full range of BCP 47 tags, in principle.
> But the catch is that the language tag characters ended up *deprecated*,
> precisely because attempting to do this kind of thing in plain text is the
> wrong thing to do -- it interferes with the level-appropriate language
> tagging mechanisms available in markup.
> I see no point in speculating about reinventing this particular broken
> wheel one
> more time for the Unicode Standard.
> --Ken
> On 2/12/2015 9:22 PM, Philippe Verdy wrote:
>> Another solution isalso to not extend the scope of use of RIS characters
>> (leave them as they are for ISO3166-1 based codes only), but defne a
>> separate set with "Language Indicator Symbols" (LIS) working the same way,
>> but based on ISO 639-2 or -3 (3-letter codes, accepting also the language
>> family codes also encoded on 3 letters, as well as alll -3 macrolanguages
>> such as "zho" for Chinese or "que" for Quechua).
>> Nowhere, that will mean that Unicode defines what is a valid language or
>> not. All well-formed triplets are valid, and users are free to use 3-code
>> sequences of LIS to do what they want as long as this respects the known
>> ISO639 standard (otr its history, including retired codes). ...
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