Proposed Successor to RFC 3066 (language tags)

Michael Everson everson at
Tue Nov 25 10:47:54 CET 2003

At 14:18 +0000 2003-11-24, Debbie Garside wrote:

>Linguasphere ICT are developing ISO 639-6.  In a nutshell, 639-6 will bring
>all the IS0 639 family together.  We will be proposing unique alpha4 codes
>for each individual language/dialect.  Further proposals are scheduled for
>May 2004 with regard to the dating of languages/dialects and a structuring
>code.  Linguasphere ICT has also related each language to its hierachical
>mother via the alpha4 coding system; in excess of 25,000 languages and
>dialects have already been coded in this way.(you might note I am not a
>linguist but am more computer orientated).

I would reject such a standard. In the first place Linguasphere's 
database is expensive and unavailable; in the second, what I have 
seen of it (the PDF about Irish available on its web site) make me 
deeply distrustful of its methodology for distinguishing "language" 
and "dialect". It is doubtful that such a level of granularity is 
either useful or desirable in an ISO standard.

>As far as I am aware, SIL are on track with 639-3, indeed a draft CD has
>been circulated for comments by end Dec 2003.  I am sure Havard will respond
>on this with schedules.

I haven't seen it, but it is difficult to follow the workings of that 
committee because of the way documents and information are 

>We would very much welcome your input on this important extension of the ISO
>639 family.

As an expert in languages and coding, quite honestly, I would say 
"don't bother".
Michael Everson * * Everson Typography *  *

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