Re: (long) Making orthographies computer-ready (was *not* Telephoning Tamil)

Date: Tue Jul 30 2002 - 09:49:26 EDT

On 07/30/2002 06:32:07 AM John Cowan wrote:

>> The industry needs to wake up to the fact
>> that the requirement that a language have an ISO-639 2-letter code
before a
>> locale can be created is a dead end.
>These words deserve to be written up in letters of gold.

I like that. (Where are those chromatic fonts when you need them? :-)

>> Well, I'm pretty sure Hawaiian isn't going to get it,
>It seems to me that if the request were backed by the State of Hawaii
>(or one of its agencies) it would meet the ISO 639-1 criteria, save
>perhaps for the number of speakers. Hawai'ian is an official language
>of Hawaii, after all.

But that's not the sole criterion a language has to meet. The requirements
are explained at


 The following criteria for defining new languages in ISO 639-1 has been
 established by the ISO 639 Joint Advisory Committee.
       Relation to ISO 639-2. Since ISO 639-1 is to remain a subset of ISO
       639-2, it must first satisfy the requirements for ISO 639-2 and also
       satisfy the following.
             a significant body of existing documents (specialized texts, such
             as college or university textbooks, technical documentation
             manuals, specialized journals, subject-field related books, etc.)
             written in specialized languages
             a number of existing terminologies in various subject fields
             (e.g. technical dictionaries, specialized glossaries,
             vocabularies, etc. in printed or electronic form)
       Recommendation.A recommendation and support of a specialized authority
       (such as a standards organization, governmental body, linguistic
       institution, or cultural organization)
       Other considerations
             the number of speakers of the language community
             the recognized status of the language in one or more countries
             the support of the request by one or more official bodies


Hawaiian meets some of these requirements, but it has not (AFAIK) been
developed to the point of having special terminologies in various subject

- Peter

Peter Constable

Non-Roman Script Initiative, SIL International
7500 W. Camp Wisdom Rd., Dallas, TX 75236, USA
Tel: +1 972 708 7485
E-mail: <>

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