ISO 639 name changes: a general correction

Don Osborn dzo at
Fri Jan 5 17:40:20 CET 2007

As the boundary between what is a “language” and what is a “dialect” is open
to discussion, I imagine that the line between “macrolanguage” and “language
group” (=? “language cluster”?) is hard to fix. 


My question in all of this is whether these changes alter how these codes
can be used in ICT. For instance, one could in theory write a locale for znd
(now “Zande languages”) or  bin (Edo/Bini) – not proposing that (and don’t
speak these languages) but rather am asking what the implications of these
changes are for localization.




Don Osborn

PanAfrican Localisation project



From: ietf-languages-bounces at
[mailto:ietf-languages-bounces at] On Behalf Of Håvard Hjulstad
Sent: Friday, January 05, 2007 9:12 AM
To: ISO 639 Joint Advisory Committee; iso639 at; iso639-2 at;
IETF Languages Discussion
Subject: ISO 639 name changes: a general correction


I have circulated a number of announcements with the following statement:

"The implication of this change is that the item is considered a language
group rather than an individual language."


Instead of "language group" I should have used the term "macrolanguage".


Best regards,

Håvard Hjulstad

(secretary ISO 639 RA-JAC)



Håvard Hjulstad

  Standard Norge / Standards Norway

  direkte tel / direct tel: (+47) 67838645

   <mailto:hhj at> mailto:hhj at




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