codes for transliterated languages

S.Rieder at S.Rieder at
Tue Jan 17 09:49:04 CET 2006

 >I would appreciate your assistance in a specific issue, ie. language >codes for transliterated languages. >
a>>) are there language codes that are already assigned/reserved for >'transliterations' of languages,
>b) 'user-assigned' codes should be used?

>In case of b), I see that ISO 639 reserves 'x' for private use for >alpha-2 codes (similar to ISO 3166). However, I came across a >formulation in document 'RFC 3066' of  Jan 2001 which reads:
...>'ISO 3166 reserves the country codes AA, QM-QZ, XA-XZ and ZZ as >user-assigned codes.  [==> the following puzzles me ==> ] These MUST >NOT be used to form language tags.'
>What's behind this restriction? Or is this obsolete and I am >referring to an old version of the document....?
>If we'd use the 'x' series for the transliteration of Arabic, Chiese or Russian, we would choose 'XA' for Arabic, 'XC' (or >'XZ') for Chinese, 'XR' for Russian. These codes are already assigned >by us as alpha-2 'user-assigned country codes' to our various >international org's but would be no problem to use them in a >different field, ie. language id code.
>Thanks for your assistance in this matter.
IAEA, >INIS & NKM Section
>e-mail: S.Rieder at

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