[OT] Re: the Ethnologue

From: Michael Everson (everson@egt.ie)
Date: Sat Sep 16 2000 - 14:07:58 EDT

Ar 08:46 -0800 2000-09-16, scríobh Doug Ewell:
>Here's another thing about the Ethnologue list that has been almost,
>but not quite, addressed. Just so everyone knows, the point here is
>*NOT* that the six or seven thousand additional languages in Ethnologue
>are somehow not worthy of encoding, but that the list is incompletely
>edited and not ready to be enshrined as an international standard or
>as the basis for one.

That is why I used ISO-speak and said that it's not "mature" for

>MKJ is the Ethnologue code for both 'Macedonian' and 'Slavic'.
>Absolutely *everyone* knows there is no one 'Slavic' language; the name
>refers to an entire language family. This is much more imprecise than
>any of the despised 'Other' codes in ISO 639.

In fairness to the Ethnologue's editor, it is possible that MKJ refers to
"Slavic Macedonian" which is a euphemism that arose because Greeks were
complaining that "Macedonian" could be Greek.

>SRC is the code for 'Bosnian', 'Croatian', and 'Serbo-Croatian', which
>means that there is a many-to-one mapping from ISO 639-1 'bs', 'hr',
>'sr' to Ethnologue 'SRC'. This is likely to cause much more widespread
>trouble than the Hopi example mentioned earlier.

Ick. This has caused problems in ISO 639 as well.

>Certainly more codes need to be added to ISO 639, and the Maintenance
>Agency needs to be sure not to present an image of unresponsiveness
>(if in fact they have been guilty of that in the past).

There were problems in the past. Things are better now, it seems. At least
there are better procedures for doing the work.

Michael Everson ** Everson Gunn Teoranta ** http://www.egt.ie
15 Port Chaeimhghein Íochtarach; Baile Átha Cliath 2; Éire/Ireland
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