Question on ISO-639:1988

Håvard Hjulstad havard at
Fri May 21 16:08:40 CEST 2004

Dear Anthony Hoang,
First of all: ISO 639:1988 has been replaced by iso 639-1:2002. The code
list is being continuously updated. Please see for the most current
code list. Please also note that the alpha-2 list in ISO 639-1 and the
alpha-3 list in ISO 639-2 are developed in parallel.
ISO 639 (both parts) specify lower case language identifiers. This choice
was made to avoid confusion with ISO 3166 (country code). From the point of
view of ISO 639 an implementation of lower case only would be preferred.
Best regards,
Håvard Hjulstad

Håvard Hjulstad    mailto:havard at
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-----Original Message-----
From: Anthony Hoang [mailto:ahoang at] 
Sent: 21. mai 2004 15:34
To: havard at; ietf-languages at
Subject: Question on ISO-639:1988

Håvard Hjulstad (ISO 639 Project Leader), 

I'm working with EAN.UCC, a standards community for the global Retail &
Consumer Manufacturing industry.  In our XML messaging standards, we have
specified ISO-639:1988 as the official code list for specifying language.  I
see that your publication of the language codes specify 2 lowercase alpha

As a B2B trading community, should we be enforcing that only lower case
characters be used?  Have you faced issues where a community implements both
lowercase and uppercase characters?  In the case that both lowercase and
uppercase are used, is there a preferred best practice between the two?

Thanks in advance for your help, 

Anthony Hoang 
Functional Architect, WorldWide Item Management 

WorldWide Retail Exchange 
625 North Washington Street 
Alexandria, VA 22314 
[main: 703.234.5100] 
[fax: 703.234.5200] 
[direct: 703.234.5151] 
[email: ahoang at] 
[aol im: AnthonyWWRE] 



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