ISO 639 - New item approved - N'Ko

Peter Constable petercon at
Fri Jun 9 18:52:14 CEST 2006

ISO 639 has a longer history than the Universal Character Set. All of the language names for some time have used ASCII -- or ISO 8859-1 -- and the representations have generally been what was provided by the entity that requested the addition of the given language to the code tables. I think the ISO 639/RA JAC might be open to proposed name changes to use correct Latin characters in Romanizations, though.

Peter Constable

-----Original Message-----
From: ietf-languages-bounces at [mailto:ietf-languages-bounces at] On Behalf Of Michael Everson
Sent: Thursday, June 08, 2006 1:38 AM

>We even went so far as to use the "acute accent" 
>character, U+00B4, in the name "Gwich´in" 
>because that is what ISO 639 used.

You did WHAT? Oh, this is too depressing. The Gwich'in language uses a glottal stop, which could be represented by U+0027 APOSTROPHE or by U+2019 RIGHT SINGLE QUOTATION MARK, although the **correct** character to use is U+02BC MODIFIER LETTER APOSTROPHE (see 

If ISO 639 is using U+00B4 ACUTE ACCENT this is some sort of bizarre fallback, and it is **not** what we should be using. We should use the correct character (as we do in ISO 15924), and if ISO 639 is using the wrong one, we should help them to correct it.


More information about the Ietf-languages mailing list