Mandarin Chinese, Simplified Script

Mark Davis mark.davis at
Thu Jun 16 02:23:49 CEST 2005

I agree strongly with Peter. In fact, the Unicode Technical Committee
specifically agreed to ask ISO for country codes that matched what are
available for other codes, such as currency and scripts, so that there is a
code for the equivalent of 'not applicable', 'multiple codes', and


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Peter Constable" <petercon at>
To: <ietf-languages at>
Sent: Wednesday, June 15, 2005 17:11
Subject: RE: Mandarin Chinese, Simplified Script

> From: Debbie Garside [mailto:debbie at]

> ISO 639-3 was devised to provide a comprehensive set of identifiers
for all
> languages for use in a wide range of applications, including
> (already covered by 639-1), lexicography (already covered by 639-2
> terminology, which was also the original purpose of 639-1) and
> internationalisation of information systems. It attempts to represent
> known languages.
> I do not think it is a good idea to add a special purpose ID for
> that is not a language... it MAY open the flood gates for others...
> 639 into something other than a list of comprehensive identifiers for
> languages.

And applications that require codes for certain commonly-encountered
special-case scenarios are supposed to do what? Use a private-use code
and hope there will be no conflicts with users? Use an unassigned code
and hope there will be no conflict with future assignments?

Judicious decisions on the part of the JAC to add IDs for whatever
purpose do not open any flood gates to anything. They are not
relinquishing control to some rabble; they simply make a decision under
full control and carry on maintaining the code set with full control.

The number of special-case IDs I would consider appropriate for ISO 639
are very few. Something to indicate "content is not of a linguistic
nature" is one of them.

Peter Constable
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