Language Codes

From: David Chart (
Date: Mon Oct 21 2002 - 14:04:53 EDT

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    > > As to la-IT, when Latin was a living language, there
    > > was no country called Italy - there were Latium,
    > > Etruria, Umbria, etc., and later the Roman Empire.
    > Exactly. Much better though I still don't think it's
    > right would be "la-VA" for Vatican City. Of course
    > this Latin isn't really the same latin as found in the
    > classics either is it. It probably doesn't help for
    > orthographic purposes which I feel is the most
    > important reason for the "country" or "variety" field
    > of the language code existing in the first place.

    The problem with historical languages is that you need to specify a time
    as well. For example, en-GB-1600 is rather different from en-GB-2002
    (have a look at Shakespeare). A dictionary based on a renaissance
    mathematician is one historical slice of Latin, and different from
    la-GB-1400, as well as from la-IT-1100.

    Until ISO get this sorted out, which I suppose might happen, I suggest
    that we avoid using kludges to handle dead languages and historical
    versions of living languages.

    (Although the ability to set my locale to en-GB-1600 would be rather
    cool -- 'Thou hast changed thy document. Dost thou wish to retain thy
    changes on disk?')

    David Chart

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