registry vs. extensions...

John Clews Scripts2 at
Tue Oct 21 16:11:21 CEST 2003

Hello Han

In message <1066740187.3f9529db84eaf at> you wrote:
han.steenwijk at writes:

> You guessed right! My reason for turning to RFC 3066 rather than
> ISO 639-2 is twofold:
> 1) Somewhere in July 2000 I filed requests at ISO 639-2 for tags
> for Upper and Lower Sorbian.
> After a first reaction asking for some
> extra information in the weeks immediately following my requests I
> never heard of it anymore until, to my surprise, I saw the notice on
> this list in September 2003 that "hsb" and "dsb" were being
> registered at ISO 639-2.

For information, there was considerable discussion among members and
observers on the ISO 639 Joint Advisory Committee about language
names, on their internal list (and there had also been the "wen" code
for "Sorbian (languages)".

Like the discussion here on Resian, it also threw up several side
issues about principles of code allocation which were addressed by
the ISO 639 Joint Advisory Committee.

Perhaps it might be useful in a sense for some discussion on any new
request also to get discussed by ietf-languages at, at the
same time as by the ISO 639 Joint Advisory Committee?

The membership of the ISO 639 Joint Advisory Committee is not
exclusively linguists, and the process might benefit from a wider
discussion, or a parallel discussion.

> 2) Resian is not recognised as a minority language by any political
> body. Among scholars, only a handful (all non-Slovenes by origin) is
> inclined to treat it as such.

But nevertheless, presumably there is considerable academic
documentation for it as a language, that stands up among linguists?
(I hope so, after all this!)

The ISO 639 Joint Advisory Committee has been on similar ground about
languages/dialects: there are varied responses as to whether
Valencian is (merely) a dialect of Catalan, whether it should be
regarded as a separate language. Currently there is not a code for
that, though there are no requests for (sub-)dialects of Valencian.

> Would ISO 639-2 be willing to break new ground here?

Give it a go :-)

Given its sub-dialects, I guess that ISO is more likely to register
Resian, than for ISO to register each (sub-)dialect separately.

Best regards

John Clews

John Clews,
Keytempo Limited (Information Management),
8 Avenue Rd, Harrogate, HG2 7PG
Tel:    +44 1423 888 432
mobile: +44 7766 711 395
Email:  Scripts2 at

Committee Member of ISO/IEC/JTC1/SC22/WG20: Internationalization;
Committee Member of ISO/TC37/SC2/WG1: Language Codes

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