New item in ISO 639-2 - Zaza

Peter Constable petercon at
Fri Aug 25 02:45:20 CEST 2006

> From: ietf-languages-bounces at [mailto:ietf-languages-
> bounces at] On Behalf Of John Cowan

> History.  The tag "zh" has been around a long time...

A very pertinent factor.

> So it's not just that languages are related that causes a macrolanguage
> code element to be created, 

Quite so.

> nor even that the cluster of languages
> are treated in some contexts as a single language.

That is a necessary condition for a macrolanguage entity.

>  It is further a
> requirement, at least in practice, that 639-2 has an individual-language
> code for it.

If you mean that 639-2 had one prior to publication of 639-3, I don't know that that can be guaranteed; it certainly is not something that the JAC has yet committed to. I would assume a situation like Zaza could arise in the post-639-3 future. 

But just because the macrolanguage is added to 639 doesn't mean that we need to make it available for use in 3066ter. We here in this WG can decide what we would want to have happen in that scenario. We do not need to get guarantees from the 639 JAC to ensure stability in our protocols. (Which is exactly the same thing I'd say wrt the 639-1 "freeze": we don't need any guarantees from the JAC about new alpha-2 IDs; we can simply decide that we will not allow use any new alpha-2 IDs from this point forward.)

Peter Constable

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