Re: Language codes for chinese

From: Otto Stolz (
Date: Fri May 07 1999 - 12:55:17 EDT

Am 1999-04-20 um 8:36 h hat Lilly-Anne Wilder geschrieben:
> I am in need of ISO language codes for Chinese 'Simplified' and Chinese
> 'Traditional'.

Am 1999-05-06 um 11:01 h hat Markus Scherer geschrieben:
> chinese: zh
> chinese simplified=prc: zh_CN
> chinese traditional=Taiwan: zh_TW

These are Internet (MIME and HTML) codes, as defined in RFC 1766
<> (URL from the RFC
collection closest to my place; your mileage may vary).
They comprise a primary (language) tag, and an optional secondary
(country) tag. Traditional, and simplified, Chinese are typographic
variants, used in Taiwan, and mainland China, respectively. Hence,
they are discriminated by country, rather than language, code.

The primary tag can be a 2-letter ISO 639 tag, cf.
<> (mirrored at
or an IANA registered tag,
cf. <>.

The secondary tag can be a 2-letter ISO 3166 tag, cf.
or an IANA registered tag (none so far, according to the index of IANA
registered tags is in <>).

ISO 639, and ISO 3166, also define 3-letter codes,
cf. <>, and

Hence, the genuine ISO language codes for Chinese are:
  zh : alpha-2 language code, according (ISO 639-1)
  zho : alpha-3 language code for terminology use (ISO 639-2/T)
  chi : alpha-3 language code for bibliographic use (ISO 639-2/B)

Best wishes,
   Otto Stolz

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