ISO 639 name change: Songhai languages

John Cowan cowan at
Sat Jan 6 07:51:21 CET 2007

Don Osborn scripsit:

> So in such a case
> are they languages in one direction and dialects in the other? And the
> ensemble a macrolanguage from one angle and a language group from another?

Ethnologue, which is the basis of 639-3, is an extreme splitter: if they
say that two varieties are dialects of a single language, it's unlikely
that anyone will divide them more finely, with a few sporadic exceptions
like French.

So macrolanguage is the appropriate level between individual language and
language group in cases where a two-sided view is required.

> (Hence ISO-639-2 "son" might indeed be appropriate for a locale
> for certain purposes - I can't say for sure that it is, but IMO it certainly
> shouldn't be ruled out.) 

No one is trying to do so.

John Cowan    cowan at
Economists were put on this planet to make astrologers look good.
        --Leo McGarry

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