Re: language identifiers - iso 639

From: Michael Everson (
Date: Mon Sep 18 1995 - 05:53:40 EDT

At 14:27 1995-09-17, Keld Simonsen wrote:
>Mark Leisher writes:
>> Are you aware of any proposals to significantly increase the coverage
>> of ISO 639?
>Yes, I am aware of two proposals:
>One is to create a 3-letter code for the standard, called
>ISO 639-2 - it recaed CD stage but was stalled because of political
>ISO battless. I am not up to date on the current state of affairs.

...which had to do, I think, with reluctance of some libraries to abandon
terminology based on English names, giving for some 20 or so languages
_two_ "standards". Irish, for instance, was offered "gai" and "iri" (the
first of which looks like Gaidhlig (Scottish Gaelic), not like Gaeilge
(Irish Gaelic)), and Scottish Gaelic has "sco", Icelandic gets "ice" and
"isl". The Irish comments on the ballot stated that we wanted one standard
not two, and that in any case "gae", "gai" and "gav" would be recognizable
by Gaelic speakers for the Irish, Scottish, and Manx Gaelic. I don't know
whether the comments were taken into account, or what the status of 639-2

>The other is from CEN to encompass the languages that we are
>dealing with in our work, this is on indeginous (sp?)
>European languages. We will then forward this to the ISO 639
>Maintenance Agency for adding it to the ISO 639 proper.

Keld will be delighted to learn that I'll be forwarding a draft of those
proposals to him shortly as part of a CEN/TC304 action on me.... :-)

Michael Everson, Everson Gunn Teoranta
15 Port Chaeimhghein Íochtarach; Baile Átha Cliath 2; Éire*Ireland
Gutháin: +353 1 478-2597, +353 1 283-9396
27 Páirc an Fhéithlinn; Baile an Bhóthair; Co. Átha Cliath; Éire

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