ISO 639-2 decision: "mis"

Peter Constable petercon at
Thu Jun 14 05:40:32 CEST 2007

As I've suggested before, 'mis' has always been inherently unstable.


From: ietf-languages-bounces at [mailto:ietf-languages-bounces at] On Behalf Of Mark Davis
Sent: Wednesday, June 13, 2007 2:55 PM
To: John Cowan
Cc: ietf-languages at; iso639-2 at; Håvard Hjulstad; isojac at; iso639 at
Subject: Re: ISO 639-2 decision: "mis"

This is a mixed bag. On the one hand, it is great to finally get some clarity on the intended meaning for the future. On the other hand, it means that this code's meaning is intrinsically intended to narrow over time; as each new code is added, its meaning narrows to cover fewer situations. This is inherently *unstable*, and unsuitable for any situation that demands stability, like BCP 47.

Note that this still does not allow a narrowing of "mis" in BCP 47. However, for this case I think it makes the case strong enough for completely deprecating "mis" in BCP 47bis.

On 6/13/07, John Cowan <cowan at<mailto:cowan at>> wrote:
Håvard  Hjulstad scripsit:

> The identifier mis, which has been part of ISO 639-2 since its
> publication in 1998, has its scope changed from collective to special
> purpose.
> The previously assigned "names" in English and French were
> "miscellaneous languages" and "diverses, langues". These "names"
> have been changed to uncoded languages and langues non codées.


In my last lifetime,                            John Cowan
I believed in reincarnation;          
in this lifetime,                               cowan at<mailto:cowan at>
I don't.  --Thiagi
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