Question on ISO-639:1988

Debbie Garside debbie at
Wed Jun 2 16:29:26 CEST 2004

We are indeed providing alpha4 identifiers for 25,000+ linguistic
identities, catering for a wide variety of overlapping usages. The number
will rise higher.  The figure of 70,000, however, relates to all variations
of language names, NOT identities, and 450,000 relates only to the number of
alpha4 tags possible, NOT necessarily realised or needed.


-----Original Message-----
From: ietf-languages-bounces at
[mailto:ietf-languages-bounces at]On Behalf Of Michael
Sent: 02 June 2004 12:53
To: ietf-languages at
Subject: RE: Question on ISO-639:1988

At 11:33 +0100 2004-06-02, Debbie Garside wrote:

Peter Constable said:

>  >There is no question that there is wide need for *broader* coverage than
>  >is provided in ISO 639-1/-2. That can be viewed as more granular
>>coverage than is provided by the collective categories in ISO 639-2, but
>>without involving finer levels of granularity than are already provided
>>in ISO 639-1/-2. There is *occasional* need for finer levels of
>>granularity, and the request for sl-nedis is an instance of this. What I
>>have not at all seen, however, is that there is a widespread need for
>>coding coverage that is both broad and highly granular.
>Just because you cannot see the need Peter does not mean it is not there
>that we should not continue to build a system that allows for ALL
>eventualities... look to the future.  The paper (system) was very well
>received by the IT community in Lisbon...

You haven't answered the question.

What "need" for "codes" for 70,000 language entities has been
established. "We might need them someday" is not sufficient grounds
for establishing an ISO standard.
Michael Everson * * Everson Typography *  *
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