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Internet Draft "RFC 3066bis" Version 03

Internet Draft "RFC 3066bis" Version 03 Published June 2004

Date:      Fri, 4 Jun 2004 15:41:21 -0700
From:      "Addison Phillips [wM]" <>
Subject:   New draft-langtags (aka RFC3066bis) published...


The IETF has just posted the updated "RFC 3066bis" Internet-Draft (draft-phillips-langtags-03.txt), located here:

There is also a PDF version available at this location. The HTML version is hosted on my personal website here:

The changes in this draft are listed below, as well as on the issues list on my website. Note that most changes in this draft were at the request of the IESG reviewer. The main substantive changes in this version are related to the handling of "singleton" (single-letter) tags, which are now reserved for future extension (the process for doing so is enumerated). In addition, some of the confusion surrounding "extended language" tags has (hopefully) been removed. Peter Constable and John Cowan's suggestion that we eliminate the singleton subtag "-s-" was included and extended languages are now explicitly reserved for future parts of ISO 639 (presumably ISO 639-3).

Please use this list for comments and discussion.

Best Regards,

Addison Phillips and Mark Davis

The complete list of changes in this version is:

  • Added references to RFC's obsoleted by this document in abstract and introduction. The abstract was slightly rewritten.

  • Clarified that single-letter subtags can also be reserved by update to this document.

  • Modified the text in section 2.3 to clarify that the text means that users should use the same tag for the same language, not that everyone should just use (i.e., speak) the same language.

  • Modified the text in section 2.3 to clarify that applications which normatively reference this document are strongly discouraged from defining their own tag choice and matching rules. The text was written in such a way as to be consistent with this document's eventual status as a BCP.

  • Per IESG request, modified section 3.1 to change the appointment of the language subtag reviewer from the applications area director to the IESG itself.

  • Added section 3.2, which defines how the existing registry is converted.

  • Tightened up the ABNF to be more succinct. Several rules were removed defining things like 'alphanumdash'. Other rules were reworked to make them more consistent.

  • Removed the definition of i- as the prefix for registered language subtags.

  • Defined singleton subtag handling in the ABNF and the body of the document, allowing parsers to take future standardization into account. This includes significant new text related to the creation and maintenance of extensions. This syntax should be stable for a long time.

  • Defined extended language subtags as being reserved for use with ISO 639 (and presumably ISO639-3) tags only. Removed registration mechanism for extended language subtags.

  • Defined a canonicalization mechanism for extension blocks and a recommended canonicalization for extension subtags in Section 2.4.3.

  • Added the note about the length-of-subtag expansion, which might be incompatible with some implementations.

Addison P. Phillips
Director, Globalization Architecture
webMethods | Delivering Global Business Visibility
Chair, W3C Internationalization (I18N) Working Group
Chair, W3C-I18N-WG, Web Services Task Force

Internationalization is an architecture.
It is not a feature.

Prepared by Robin Cover for The XML Cover Pages archive. See also Tags for Identifying Languages, draft-phillips-langtags-03'. General references in "Language Identifiers in the Markup Context."

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