Maybe there is a movement of people who want to send an ever-so-respectful BITE ME

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2011/07/06 07:01 -04:00, original URI:

I got email from some people who would really like there to be an "alias" mechanism for locales.

And cultures.

In particular, they want an alias for


You can probably guess what they want the alias to be.


Of course.


I thought I had kind of laid my opinions on this issue to rest back in the beginning of 2005 when I wrote Culture names are <b>not</b> region names (and vice versa).

Though apparently I should have tried harder....

The scenario of needing to support developers who want to programatically instantiate cultures who would be so confounded by en-GB instead of en-UK that they would give up their life as developers?

I'm really unconvinced it exists.

Or, that it is strong enough to merit direct action at Microsoft and other comapnies to create an aliasing mechanism to make en-UK act as some kind of culture creation enabler.

Maybe that's just me, though.

Maybe there is a movement of people who want to send an ever-so-respectful "Bite Me" to some ISO-3166 registrar over the confusion of land masses and whatnot bound up in GB vs UK....

What do all of you think? :-)

Raymond Chen - MSFT on 6 Jul 2011 7:18 AM:

I wonder if people make the same request of LCIDs. "We'd like 14881 to be an alias for 2057."

Michael S. Kaplan on 6 Jul 2011 9:53 AM:

I want the 8675309 (aka 0x845fed) alias to get approved. Too bad it's not a legal LCID....

Richard on 6 Jul 2011 10:01 AM:

But that's just silly! Even if the culture name was the region name, the United Kingdom is not the same thing as Great Britain, and neither is the same as the British Isles.

Just to confuse the Americans even more, the British Isles is not the same as the British Islands!

Let's just rename it to "en-QE" (for "Queen's English") and apply it to our whole empire.

What? The Empire's gone? When did that happen? :o)

Michael S. Kaplan on 6 Jul 2011 10:05 AM:

There is an en-OED historical BCP-47 tag that has no specific preferred replacement. How would that do?

Richard on 6 Jul 2011 10:08 AM:

You could mix the two and call it "en-QED", but then you're confusing things by adding Latin to the mix.

Romani ite domum! :o)

Doug Ewell on 6 Jul 2011 10:17 AM:

Oh, for heaven's sake.  The ISO 3166-1 code element 'GB' stands for "United Kingdom."  Take a look at if you all don't believe.  It does not stand for "Great Britain" or any subset of the United Kingdom that excludes Northern Ireland or anyone else.  Nobody is being slighted or left out.  The letters are just letters.  This is the biggest tempest-in-a-teapot in the world of ISO language/country/script coding.

Doug Ewell on 6 Jul 2011 10:22 AM:

The BCP 47 tag is "en-GB-oed", not "en-oed".  It is grandfathered, which means it doesn't quite fit the regular syntax, but it's not "historical" or in need of a replacement; you can use it to your heart's content.  But its meaning is not simply "British English" (or "UK English" or "Queen's" or whatever); it refers specifically to spelling conventions found in the OED, which don't necessarily match anyone else's.

Michael S. Kaplan on 6 Jul 2011 12:49 PM:

I don't think the people who don't want en-GB wold be happy with en-GB-oed....

Doug Ewell on 6 Jul 2011 2:00 PM:

No, they wouldn't. They should use the correct tag for what it means, and not worry about which letters it contains. People don't spend this kind of time worrying about whether 'AE' implies that the Arab Emirates are not United, or whether 'AG' unfairly represents Antigua to the exclusion of Barbuda, or why the locally derived 'DZ' was chosen for Algeria but Albania didn't get 'SQ'.

Michael S. Kaplan on 6 Jul 2011 2:10 PM:

They do spend a lot of time dislking uig for Uyghur though. :-)

Doug Ewell on 6 Jul 2011 3:20 PM:

Should be 'ug', shouldn't it?

Michael S. Kaplan on 6 Jul 2011 3:43 PM:

Sometimes the three letter is what one needs -- and the three letter pisses them off.

John Cowan on 6 Jul 2011 5:28 PM:

What I think is that GB is a fine abbreviation for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.  As Doug implies, words like Kingdom, Republic, and United aren't used in making 3166-1 code elements: the Kingdom of the Netherlands is NL, not KN.

Admittedly, on that principle US would be just as bogus, but the 3166/MA is boxed into a corner there.  Creating the abbrevation from "America" would bring down the wrath of every other country in the hemisphere, whereas complaints about the appropriation of US (from the United States of Mexico, perhaps?) can be safely ignored.

Indeed, Libya was the United Kingdom of Libya until Qaddhafi took over, and changed the name first to the Libyan Arab Republic and then to the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.  (The last word is a neologism, جماهيرية‎ jamāhīriyyah, made by pluralizing the first part of the usual Arabic word for republic, جمهورية‎ jumhūriyyah, so it means something like People's Republic.)  The forces of the rebellion have restored part of the old name and call it the Libyan Republic.

Richard on 7 Jul 2011 4:32 AM:

Why is it that countries whose names include "Peoples Republic of" or "Democratic Republic of" are usually dictatorships?

Michael S. Kaplan on 7 Jul 2011 6:30 AM:

Probably for the same reason that those dictatorships with government heads with names like "President for Life" often aren't expected to live very long....

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