ISO 639 and RFC 3066bis

Doug Ewell dewell at
Sat Jul 24 22:33:23 CEST 2004

Harald Tveit Alvestrand <harald at alvestrand dot no> wrote:

>> Correct.  But we are already treating some of them as valid in RFC
>> 3066 (the transitionally reserved ones) and I'm arguing for treating
>> some of the exceptionally reserved ones (the oddball territories) as
>> valid too.
> which reserved codes are we treating as valid in RFC 3066?

The way I read RFC 3066, none of them:

"All 2-letter subtags are interpreted as ISO 3166 alpha-2 country codes
from [ISO 3166], or subsequently assigned by the ISO 3166 maintenance
agency or governing standardization bodies, denoting the area to which
this language variant relates."

Strictly speaking, if a country code is no longer part of ISO 3166 (like
TP or YU or ZR) then it would appear to be no longer valid under RFC
3066.  However, most implementations would probably consider such
withdrawn codes to be valid, not because of their current
"transitionally reserved" status but because they were formerly ISO 3166
codes.  (ZR might be considered valid under RFC 1766 only, since it was
withdrawn from ISO 3166 before RFC 3066 was published.)

This is one of the things RFC 3066bis seeks to change; loosely speaking,
withdrawn ISO 3166 (and ISO 639) codes would be explicitly valid, but
would be considered aliases for the equivalent current ("canonical")

So far, nobody has commented publicly about the list of exceptionally
reserved ISO 3166 code elements that John Cowan proposed.  They are
listed (as comments) in my prototype registry; search for the name
"Cowan" to find them.

-Doug Ewell
 Fullerton, California

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