ISO 639 name change: Songhai languages

Doug Ewell dewell at
Sat Jan 6 07:20:07 CET 2007

CE Whitehead <cewcathar at hotmail dot com> wrote:

> Thanks for the individual name changes--I'm not sure whether I need to 
> provide input though; should I look each of these up at ethnologue and 
> decide whether I agree that it is a group of languages or not or 
> should I just ignore these and leave this discussion to those more 
> familiar with these?  I think I will sit this out.

These changes are initiated by changes to a core ISO standard, so 
there's no need for anyone to provide input, unless they can show some 
conflict within the Registry that would result from adding them. 
"Conflict" in this case means a drastic error such as two identical 
subtags, or two different subtags with the same meaning, not something 
subjective like "I don't agree with the way ISO defines languages."

This is different from the procedure for evaluating user-requested 
subtags, such as the ones CE proposed for Late Middle and Early Modern 
French.  In that case, the Reviewer makes a decision and may take the 
view of other list members into consideration.

> There are perhaps some politics involved in say determining whether 
> English is a macrolanguage for Scouse, Cockney, etc. or whether these 
> are just dialects.

There is always "politics" involved in the classification of languages. 
That is a fact of life and it was so for a long time before ISO 639 or 
RFC 1766/3066/4646/4646bis were invented.

Doug Ewell  *  Fullerton, California, USA  *  RFC 4645  *  UTN #14

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