RE: ISO 639-3 database special entries (was: Questions re ISO-639-1,2,3)

From: Peter Constable (
Date: Thu Aug 25 2005 - 07:18:48 CDT

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    > From: Philippe Verdy []

    > But as these codes are still assigned in ISO 639-2, ISO-639-3 should
    > reserve
    > them.
    > This can be done by mapping them with a new "B" Scope id.

    Absolutely not. Scope refers not to the domain of applicability but
    rather to the broadness of language varieties encompassed.

    What might be possible would be to list these IDs with some particular
    status assigned. But I would not include names in the entries for a data
    table for part 3, as they are not formally defined in part 3.


    > I also note that the file contains no entries for other reserved
    > * Scope=R (Reserved),

    Again, a completely inappropriate use of Scope. Also, I don't see why
    the data file should include entries for identifiers that has all of
    their properties defined in the standard itself.

    > On the opposite, I see that the ISO 639-3 database keeps entries for
    > special
    > codes (which seems in opposition with the ISO 639-3 policy of not
    > collective languages, i.e. Scope="C" used for language families):
    > * Scope=S, for example [mul] and [und] in ISO 639-2 and ISO 639-3;

    Here, a special value for Scope would be appropriate. (Thanks for
    bringing this to my attention.)

    > What is the ISO 639-3 policy regarding the
    > stability of these preexisting bibliographic, reserved and special
    > (that are also used in informative Unicode database files, and in the
    > CLDR)?

    ISO 639-3 treats them as stable. Of course, it has nothing to say about
    the use of any identifier in particular applications, such as CLDR.

    Peter Constable

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