[Tagging] Tagging Digest, Vol 108, Issue 71, languages & borders

Paul Allen pla16021 at gmail.com
Sat Sep 15 15:46:22 UTC 2018

On Sat, Sep 15, 2018 at 4:23 PM, Martin Koppenhoefer <dieterdreist at gmail.com
> wrote:

> 2018-09-15 16:49 GMT+02:00 Joseph Eisenberg <joseph.eisenberg at gmail.com>:
>> If the language of Schiermonnikoog is used to name the hills, streams,
>> streets and shops on the island, then it could be the default language for
>> that place.
> the local language obviously will be used to name the surroundings, but it
> might not always have a script we can enter in our database. The
> information about spoken languages is valuable independent from determining
> the language used in the name tag.

If we're going to do this (for now I don't have a firm opinion either way)
then I suggest we give some thought as to
how we tag languages (and possibly scripts).  People have been implicitly
referring to the ISO 639-1 two-letter
language codes when they propose tags of the form language:xx=yes.  They're
not really adequate, which is why
ISO 639-2 three-letter languages codes where introduced.

But those were found to be inadequate in some applications, which is why
Internet RFCs have built on that.
Initially, to code for dialects: British and US English differ, and OSM
prefers en-GB as opposed to en-US.
Portuguese has two dialects: the one on Portugal and the one in Brazil.
Welsh has two (three, if you count the
small enclave of Welsh speakers in a village in Patagonia) and written
Welsh differs from the spoken dialects
in some ways.

The latest RFC to try and make sense of all this and provide a sensible
scheme is RFC 5646 https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc5646  If you're not a
programmer, it's hard work trying to figure it all out, so first look at
the examples in
Appendix A https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc5646#appendix-A to see what can
be done.

I'm not saying this proposal should adopt RFC 5646 (or even speaking in
favour of the proposal), just saying that
if it goes ahead we ought to at least take a look at what others have found
necessary when tagging languages.

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