Re: language identifiers - iso 639

From: Mark Leisher (
Date: Sat Sep 16 1995 - 15:16:25 EDT

    Keld> We did talk about how to handle language codes in CEN when
    Keld> we looked at how to specify the locale name syntax for the
    Keld> CEN cultural registry, and there our decision was to follow
    Keld> the POSIX and X/Open tradition to use the ISO 639 names,
    Keld> just as the internet RFC earlier mentioned. For languages
    Keld> our proposal was to use the maintenance mechanism of ISO 639
    Keld> instead of turning to other mechanisms. In that way we would
    Keld> keep all the standards involved consistent and aligned, and
    Keld> the maintenance of ISO 639 is a quite expedient way to have
    Keld> these specifications full normative ISO standard status -
    Keld> new codes can become full ISO standard state after about 3
    Keld> months from the proposal. We are in CEN planning to propose
    Keld> a number of new language codes, for the European languages
    Keld> that we are working on right now.

    Keld> I think introducing a Unicode language identifier would mess
    Keld> up the consensus that there is now on using ISO 639 as the
    Keld> prime identifier standard for languages.

From our perspective, if ISO 639 were to adopt a significant selection
from the Ethnologue list of languages, it would be much easier to
accept as a reference to work from.

Are you aware of any proposals to significantly increase the coverage
of ISO 639?
Mark Leisher "The trick is not gaining the knowledge,
Computing Research Lab but surviving the lessons."
New Mexico State University -- "Svaha," Charles de Lint
Box 30001, Dept. 3CRL
Las Cruces, NM 88003

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