What's the plan for ISO 639-3 and RFC 3066 ter?

Addison Phillips [wM] aphillips at webmethods.com
Mon Aug 16 17:37:52 CEST 2004

The question is: does ISO 639-3 supersede ISO 639-2 as the source for three letter codes? Or not?

If 639-3 is a strict superset, then the additional three letter codes could just be admitted as language subtags. In fact, I'm given to understand from Peter's prior explanations that this should be the goal for most of the 639-3 codes. The need for extlang subtags would then be muted (and might even be eliminated). Only language codes that had "macro languages" associated with them could be registered as extlangs. In fact, these subtags might be cherry picked on an as-needed basis (rather than having a full-fledged formal source).

Canonicalizing and matching the tags in this situation would be much more complicated:

zh-min-nan // ignore the min problem for a second

Are these tags matching?
Which one or ones are canonical?

BTW> John (and others on the list), are you happy with 3066 bis? Indications of support or opposition (with reasons) would be useful at this juncture in finishing this work.


Addison P. Phillips
Director, Globalization Architecture
webMethods | Delivering Global Business Visibility
Chair, W3C Internationalization (I18N) Working Group
Chair, W3C-I18N-WG, Web Services Task Force

Internationalization is an architecture. 
It is not a feature.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: ietf-languages-bounces at alvestrand.no 
> [mailto:ietf-languages-bounces at alvestrand.no]On Behalf Of John Cowan
> Sent: 2004年8月15日 20:53
> To: Doug Ewell
> Cc: ietf-languages at alvestrand.no
> Subject: What's the plan for ISO 639-3 and RFC 3066 ter?
> Doug Ewell scripsit:
> >  And if ISO 639-3 DOESN'T want to assign "min"
> > because it would conflict with ISO 639-2, that's OK too; 
> That's a given.  ISO 639-2, 693-3, and 639-5 are all drawn from the
> same TLA space.
> > Exceptional cases
> > like this don't break the usefulness of the extlang mechanism.
> We are eventually going to have to decide what to do about ISO 639-3.
> Do we allow all 639-3 tags in the first place, or do we allow them
> only as extlangs?  Saying "both" would be most obnoxious, since
> every ISO 639-3 code is either identical to a 639-2 one or is
> subsumed (sometimes badly) by one.
> -- 
> Barry gules and argent of seven and six,        John Cowan
> on a canton azure fifty molets of the second.   cowan at ccil.org
>         --blazoning the U.S. flag               http://www.ccil.org/~cowan
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