Re: Request for Comments: Language Codes

From: John Cowan (
Date: Fri Jun 11 1999 - 13:19:27 EDT

Eric Brunner wrote:

> Please have a look at the table contained in the final 2/3rds of Harald's
> current draft, for errors and omissions. If someone would go to the SISLA
> and SIL sites and save me some work I'd really appreciate it.

Note that that stuff is non-normative in Harald's draft. It comes
from ISO 639-2, and if any of it is broken,
it is only ISO (and/or the registrar) who can fix it, not Harald
or the IETF.

> who owns (and can exclude) the standard?

ISO owns it. The registrar for ISO 639 is:

        Library of Congress
        Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
        c/o Network development and MARC Standards Office

> is the common American name (and three-letter acronym) preferred by
> the actual language community?

Not necessarily.

> is computer support for "minority languages" part of the preservation
> of those languages?

ISO 639 has nothing to do with computers necessarily; it works
equally well on old-fashioned library catalog cards. It is a way
of labeling languages with 2-letter or 3-letter codes, that's all.
> The hack for doing standard support (in the IETF) for languages not covered
> in either iso639 or iso639-2 is a language tag registration, with the IANA,
> the same folks several of us have gone to for a top-level domain, without
> success. There are only two which have been granted, and these are both in
> the 2nd and 3rd parts of this message.

About five went through a few weeks ago, including i-klingon.

> The IANA language tag registration brings up more issues:

> is the reference authoritative (and who is the authority)?

IETF is the authority.

> is the tag requestor authorized by the language community?

Not necessarily.
> Kitakitamatsinopowaw,
> Eric

You never did tell me whether my attempt to render this word
into UCAS was correct or not.

John Cowan
	You tollerday donsk?  N.  You tolkatiff scowegian?  Nn.
	You spigotty anglease?  Nnn.  You phonio saxo?  Nnnn.
		Clear all so!  'Tis a Jute.... (Finnegans Wake 16.5)

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.2 : Tue Jul 10 2001 - 17:20:46 EDT