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Making Sense of Language Tags 10 th Metadata Open Forum.

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1 Making Sense of Language Tags 10 th Metadata Open Forum

2 Presenter Addison Phillips Globalization Architect, Yahoo! Chair, W3C Internationalization Core Working Group Co-Editor, Language Tag Registry Update (LTRU) Working Group (RFC 4646, RFC 4647, RFC 4646bis)

3 Languages, Language Tags, and Locales (oh my!) Identifying language (and locale): the challenge ISO 639 IETF BCP 47 – RFC 4646, RFC 4647 – RFC 4646bis Challenges for users

4 Human Language as Metadata Some data is just data, but some data is human- readable text. Text processing depends on language: – spelling, stemming, tokenization, word/line/sentence boundaries, thesauri, terminology, morphological analysis, font and stylistic traditions, collation. IT systems depend on language negotiation: – localization, message selection, user interface, presentation, number/date/time/etc. formatting, list presentation

5 Human Language "Ole Missus, de house of plum` jam full o` people, en dey`s jes a-spi`lin` to see de gen`lemen!" (Mark Twain, Puddinhead Wilson)

6 Identifying Languages Languages dont form nice hierarchies – splitters vs lumpers – dialects, subdialects, regional and stylistic differences, patois Differing communities with different needs – terminology, librarians, computer systems, translators, etc.

7 In the Beginning (ca CE) Received Wisdom from the Dark Ages Locales: – japanese, french, german, C – ENU, FRA, JPN – ja_JP.PCK – AMERICAN_AMERICA.WE8ISO8859P1 Languages… … looked a lot like locales (and vice versa)

8 ISO 639 Defines language identifier codes Multiple parts: – ISO (alpha2 codes 676 ) (136 codes) – ISO (alpha3 codes ) (about 500) – ISO (alpha3 codes) (about 7000) – ISO (principles for encoding) – ISO (language families) – ISO (alpha4 codes) (under development)

9 Impact of ISO ISO and share a codespace – all codes are also codes – Macrolanguages

10 Human Language "Ole Missus, de house of plum` jam full o` people, en dey`s jes a-spi`lin` to see de gen`lemen!" (Mark Twain, Puddinhead Wilson) en

11 Parallel Efforts ISO 639 – ISO (early 1980s) – ISO (alpha3) – ISO IETF BCP 47 – RFC 1766 (1995) – RFC 3066 (2001) – RFC 4646 (2006) – RFC 4646bis (2007)

12 BCP 47 Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) Best Current Practice (BCP) Enable presentation, selection, and negotiation of content in protocols and formats – Widely used! XML, HTML, RSS, MIME, SOAP, SMTP, LDAP, CSS, XSL, CCXML, Java, C#, ASP, perl, Apache, IE, Mozilla……….

13 Adds Granularity Need to identify language on varying levels of mutual intelligibility and granularity "Ole Missus, de house of plum` jam full o` people, en dey`s jes a-spi`lin` to see de gen`lemen!" (Mark Twain, Puddinhead Wilson) en en-US

14 Whats a Locale – a concept or identifier used by programmers to represent a particular collection of cultural, regional, or linguistic preferences. java.util.Locale.Net Culture LANG (setlocale in C, C++) NLS_LANG in Oracle … and so on…

15 Locales? Huh? Theatre Center News: The date of the last version of this document was A copy can be obtained for $50,0 or 1.234,57 грн. We would like to acknowledge contributions by the following authors (in alphabetical order): Alaa Ghoneim, Behdad Esfahbod, Ahmed Talaat, Eric Mader, Asmus Freytag, Avery Bishop, and Doug Felt.

16 Locale Identifiers Different ideas: – Accept-Locale vs. Accept-Language – URIs/URNs, etc. – CLDR/LDML And Requirements: – Operating environments and harmonization – App Servers – Web Services New Solution? Cost of Adoption: – UTF-8 to the browser: 8 long years

17 Locales and Language Tags meet We really need locale identifiers. Language tags are being (ab)used as locale identifiers anyway… Not going to need a big new thing… … we can do this really fast… Yeah, well write an RFC IUC23, March 2003

18 BCP 47 (Historic) Basic Structure Alphanumeric (ASCII only) subtags Up to eight characters long Separated by hyphens Case not important (i.e. zh = ZH = zH = Zh) 1*8alphanum * [ - 1*8 alphanum ]

19 RFC 1766 zh-TW ISO (alpha2) ISO 3166 (alpha2) i-klingon Registered value

20 RFC 3066 sco-GB ISO (alpha 3 codes) But use… eng-GB alpha 2 codes when they exist X

21 Problems Script Variation: – zh-Hant/zh-Hans – (sr-Cyrl/sr-Latn, az-Arab/az-Latn/az-Cyrl, etc.) Obsolence of registrations: – art-lojban (now jbo), i-klingon (now tlh) Instability in underlying standards: – sr-CS (CS used to be Czechoslovakia Lack of a single authoritative, stable source

22 And More Problems Lack of scripts Little support for registered values in software Reassignment of values by ISO 3166 Lack of consistent tag formation (Chinese dialects?) Standards not readily available, bad references Bad implementation assumptions – 1*8 alphanum *[ - 1*8 alphanum] – 2*3 ALPHA [ - 2ALPHA ] Many registrations to cover small variations – 8 German registrations to cover two variations

23 LTRU and RFC 4646 Defines a generative syntax – machine readable – future proof, extensible Defines a single source (IANA Language Subtag Registry) – Stable subtags, no conflicts – Machine readable Defines when to use subtags – (sometimes)

24 Anatomy of a Language Tag sl-Latn-IT-rozaj-1994-x-mine ISO 639-1/2 (alpha2/3)ISO script codes (alpha 4)ISO 3166 (alpha2) or UN M49 Registered variantsPrivate Use and Extension

25 More Examples fr, de, nl, en, ja fr-FR, fr-CA, de-DE, de-CH … es-419 (Spanish for Americas) en-US (English for USA) de-CH-1996 (Old tags are all valid) sl-rozaj-1994 (Multiple variants) zh-t-wadegile (Extensions)

26 Solves the Script problem zh-Hant (!= zh-TW) zh-Hans (!= zh-CN) Azerbaijani (az) – Arab, Cyrl, Latn Serbian (sr) – Cyrl, Latn Yiddish (yi) – Hebr, Latn Mongolian (mn) – Cyrl, Latn, Hani Belarussian (bs) – Cyrl, Latn Etc.

27 Benefits Subtag registry in one place: one source, machine-readable Subtags identified by length/content Extensible Compatible with RFC 3066 tags Stable: subtags are forever

28 Tag Choice Tag Content Wisely – use the shortest tag reasonable – use as many subtags as necessary to disambiguate – dont invent things; use the registry – map deprecated values to modern equivalents

29 Specialized Codes zxx und mis Zxxx

30 Problems Matching – Does en-US match en-Latn-US ? Tag Choices – Users have more to choose from. Implementations – More to do, more to think about – (easier to parse, process, support the good stuff)

31 Tag Matching (RFC 4647) Uses Language Ranges in a Language Priority List to select sets of content according to the language tag Three Schemes – Basic Filtering – Extended Filtering – Lookup

32 Tags are not Tokens! Many technologies would like language tags (attributes, etc.) to be atomicbut language tags have structure foo(lang:en) { color: red; } Accept-Language= zh;q=1.0;de-DE;q=0.8

33 Filtering Ranges specify the least specific item – en matches en, en-US, en-Brai, en-boont Basic matching uses plain prefixes – en-US matches en-US or en-US-boont but not en-Latn-US Extended matching can match inside bits – en-*-US

34 Lookup Range specifies the most specific tag in a match. Returns exactly one item. – en-US might return either en or en-US but not en-US-boont Mirrors the locale fallback mechanism and many language negotiation schemes.

35 Lookup and Language Negotiation Resources fall back to find the best match Global Binary Resources zh-Hans-SG (Chinese, Simplified script, Singapore) zh-Hans (Chinese, Simplified script) zh (Chinese) (root) Falling back

36 What Do I Do (Content Author)? Not much. – Existing tags are all still valid: tagging is mostly unchanged. – Resist temptation to (ab)use the private use subtags. Unless your language has script variations: – Tag content with the appropriate script subtag(s) Script subtags only apply to a small number of languages: zh, sr, uz, az, mn, and a very small number of others.

37 What Do I Do (Programmer)? Check code for compliance with 4646 – Decide on well-formed or validating – Implement suppress-script – Change to using the registry – Bother infrastructure folks (Java, MS, Mozilla, etc) to implement the standard

38 I need a new subtag… Register new subtags with ietf- – only primary language or variant subtags – read RFC 4646 for instructions – two-week review period with expert approval

39 LTRU Milestone Dates RFC 4646 – Registry went live in December 2005 RFC 4647 (Anticipated) RFC 4646bis – This includes ISO support, extended language subtags, and possibly ISO 639-6

40 RFC 4646bis (Internet-Draft) Currently taking shape – Adds about 7000 additional primary language subtags from ISO – Extended language subtags for Chinese and other languages being debated – … and some cleanup work on processes and procedures

41 Macrolanguages and Extlang zh-Hant-HK Chinese, Traditional Script, Hong Kong SAR yue-Hant-HK Cantonese, Traditional Script, Hong Kong SAR zh-yue-Hant-HK Chinese, Cantonese, Traditional Script, Hong Kong SAR extlang

42 Things to Do (languages) Get involved in LTRU Get involved in W3C I18N Activity Write implementations Work on adoption of BCP 47: understand the impact Then get involved with Locale identifiers …

43 Back to Locales… IUC 20 Round Table Suzanne Toppings Multilingual Article Tex Texin and the Locales list…

44 Locale Identifiers and Web Services

45 W3C and Unicode W3C – Identifiers and cross-over with language tags – Web services – XML, HTML Unicode Consortium – LDML – CLDR – Standards for content

46 Language Tags and Locale Identifiers REC (LTLI) Working Draft developed by W3C I18N Architecture WG – effort currently moribund: needs community participation – defines standards and guidelines for using language tags in W3C technologies – defines relationship of language tags to locale identifiers basis for efforts such as WS-I18N

47 Things to Read Tag and Registry RFC Matching RFC 4646bis Draft References LTRU Mailing List

48 Ideas and Questions

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