Re: Plane 14 redux (was: Same language, two locales)

From: Michael Everson (
Date: Thu Sep 07 2000 - 06:58:00 EDT

I do not have the confidence which you do in the Ethnologue's taxonomy or
in its freedom from error, Peter. The 50+ document requirement for ISO
639-2 is not unreasonable. Languages should be proposed for inclusion in
ISO 639 wherever appropriate. Other languages can be proposed via RFC 1766.

If we dump six thousand language codes into the RFC, we are effectively
stopping work on ISO 639 by standardizing the Ethnologue codes. I don't
think that is appropriate.

You said:
>But the discussion regarding revisions to RFC 1766 have specifically made
>allowances for languages that don't satisfy the 50+ document requirement.
>The two processes *are* different.

I think there is a difference between giving a code to something because it
is needed, and giving a code to something because it is part of somebody's

I use the Ethnologue in my work, but very carefully. There is a lot of
overlap and error in it. You know that. We all know how complex maintaining
such a database can be.

It is not, as it stands, in my view, mature for wholesale adoption as an
international standard, whether de-facto (the RFC) or de jure (639).

I will be interested in reading your and Gary's paper, but I have strong
misgivings about this.

I think if this thread continues it should do so on the ISO 639 list and
the IETF list, not the Unicode list.

Michael Everson ** Everson Gunn Teoranta **
15 Port Chaeimhghein Íochtarach; Baile Átha Cliath 2; Éire/Ireland
Vox +353 1 478 2597 ** Fax +353 1 478 2597 ** Mob +353 86 807 9169
27 Páirc an Fhéithlinn; Baile an Bhóthair; Co. Átha Cliath; Éire

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