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

From: Philippe Verdy (
Date: Fri Aug 26 2005 - 16:11:27 CDT

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    From: "Dominikus Scherkl" <>
    > Seems funny to group languages in only 3 stages of subdivisions (macro,
    > isolated, dialect)... I've seen much deeper trees.

    i suppose that higher levels of grouping may appear in a later part of ISO
    639 that will focus on groups of isolated languages or macrolanguages, such
    as families... (ISO 639-6?)


    Same thing about the possible later encoding of "dialects" of isolated
    languages (ISO 639-7?), and that are generally handled in locales, for now,
    by refering to additional ISO 3166-1 or -2 area codes, and unstandardized
    variant codes (note that this is orthogonal to the other level for script

    So one could get precise codes later for variants like "Poitevin" (in
    French) and "Maraichin" (also in French, but not found in the Ethnologue
    catalogue, which apparently mixes it with "Poitevin", despite they are
    geographically and culturally distant, and they have distinct phonetics and
    distinct ways to spell and write conjugated verbs or to form feminine and
    plurals, or to form contractions, or simply different syntaxic

    Just for info, the "Maraichin" dialect refers to the regional minority
    variant of French spoken in the "Marais Breton" in the North of Vendée and
    the South of Loire-Atlantique, and not to the regional minory variant of
    French spoken in the "Marais Poitevin" in the South of Vendée and in the
    region of Poitou-Charentes. The "Maraichin" is in fact more near from the
    minority "Gallo" dialect (should I say instead "language" given that Gallo
    also has its own extensive vocabulary?) spoken in the Eastern part of the
    Britanny region, than from Poitevin, because Maraichin adopts the Maraichin

    I could also speak about "Picard", which is in fact so far from standard
    French, because it has is own long history predating the creation of
    standard Parisian French, which was just ONE of the various "langues d'oïl"
    spoken in the North half of France. Also I could speak about several
    distinct variants of Provençal (which is no more considered endangered) and
    is, for now, considered as a single dialect of Occitan by the Ethnologue,
    but which is in fact quite far from Occitan spoken in Western Spain.

    -- Philippe.

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