Re: Error on Language Codes page.

From: Doug Ewell (
Date: Sun Feb 01 2009 - 16:14:06 CST

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    Peter Constable <petercon at microsoft dot com> wrote:

    >> Codes that are withdrawn from a standard in the ISO 639 family are
    >> not still present in the standard. See the official text file
    >> provided by ISO 639-2/RA at:
    > They may not be listed there, but they are still defined with a stable
    > encoding -- my point being, those IDs won't get re-defined.

    I understand and applaud that they won't get redefined. My point is
    that they don't appear in the publicly available ISO 639 code lists,
    even as non-preferred alternatives.

    >> They aren't still supported by the ISO 639 authorities.
    > I'm not sure what "still supported by the ISO 639 authorities" means.
    > They are still defined with stable semantics but are deprecated.

    I'm taking my understanding of "deprecated" from Unicode. A deprecated
    character is still in the standard, still defined with all of its
    properties, but there is an additional property that says, in essence,
    "Don't use this character; solve your problem with a different character
    or in a different way." This isn't the same as removing the character
    from the standard, whether or not the code point is reserved.

    My understanding of ISO 639-1 was that codes like 'in' and 'iw' and 'ji'
    and 'jw' were actually withdrawn from the standard, meaning that they
    didn't exist in the standard any more, regardless of whether there was a
    pledge not to revive them later. There are other deprecated codes in
    ISO 639-1, 'mo' and 'sh', which are not listed on the change page as
    "withdrawn," but which still do not appear in the online code lists. I
    would have regarded these as no longer belonging to the standard either.

    If I have this terminology wrong, then I apologize to Philippe for the
    misinformation -- but I still contend that the Unicode organization,
    which has its own strong recommendations about deprecated characters,
    should not be encouraging people to use deprecated codes from other
    standards by default.

    Doug Ewell  *  Thornton, Colorado, USA  *  RFC 4645  *  UTN #14  ˆ

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