Milicent Wewerka wrote on 03/17/2003 06:56:42 AM:

> Regarding Michael's message (below), I think this is an important point.
>  I don't think that the view of the speakers of the language is the only
> issue... The language codes
> are not some abstract intellectual exercise; they are applied in the
> real world.

I agree. If we add 2- or 3-letter IDs for things that really are not
different, but are only referred to by different names, then we create
potential for problems in a number of areas:

- software vendors will get the impression that they need to support
distinct implementations for these things, when they do not (and, btw, when
they find out that they have expended resources unnecessesarily, they'll
get annoyed at ISO)

- larger content providers will face a conundrum in publishing: they have
content that is intended for the entire community, but they are forced to
decide whether to tag it as Catalan or as Valencian; they'll end up having
to duplicate the content and have two versions that are identical except
for the way tagged, and that will result in increased costs for their

- some content will be inconsistently tagged: there will be content that
gets tagged one way and other content that gets tagged another way; authors
will be confused about which to use; users will similarly be confused, or
will miss out on some of the content they were looking for

- cataloguers will face a conundrum about how to catalog content that can
serve both sub-communities (the issue that Milicent pointed out)

If there were some social or political circumstances that meant there were
two very distinct cultural identities that meant that content targeted at
one community would generally not be suitable for the other, then *perhaps*
that might warrent two different language identifiers (though I wouldn't
make that a general rule). But just because one portion of the speaker
community refers to themselves as "Valencian", that alone is not a
sufficient basis for asserting a distinct language. (If the UK had vowed to
veto a UN resolution and Americans started asserting that they ate "freedom
muffins" rather than "English muffins", and similarly that they spoke
"American" rather than "English", that wouldn't provide a basis for adding
a new language identifier for "American".)

- Peter

Peter Constable

Non-Roman Script Initiative, SIL International
7500 W. Camp Wisdom Rd., Dallas, TX 75236, USA
Tel: +1 972 708 7485