New Last Call: 'Tags for Identifying Languages' to BCP

John Cowan jcowan at
Tue Dec 14 17:32:02 CET 2004

Deborah Goldsmith scripsit:

> And here's hoping they go to four digits or otherwise extend the scheme 
> instead of recycling when they run out, a non-hypothetical issue if 
> they're already up to 891.

Not much to worry about.  Of 1000 possible codes, currently 232 are
assigned to countries, 32 are assigned to regions, and 10 are retired,
leaving 726 codes yet to be assigned.  I think that provides a comfortable
pad for the future.  It's not obvious on what principles, if any, the
individual codes were assigned.

For the fun of it, the retired codes represent Czechoslovakia,
Ethiopia+Eritrea (then known as Ethiopia), East Germany, West Germany,
the Netherlands Antilles, the Pacific Islands Trust Territories (now
split up), the USSR, Yemen, Democratic Yemen, and Yugoslavia.

Do NOT stray from the path!             John Cowan <jcowan at>

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