Wikimedia language codes

Doug Ewell dewell at
Tue Nov 14 15:15:34 CET 2006

Don Osborn <dzo at bisharat dot net> wrote:

> Re "macrolanguage" I do recall your analogy not too long ago of it as 
> a shim between ISO-639-2 & 3 for certain categories (I agree that the 
> concept [under whatever name] seems have a utility beyond that role).

I think of macrolanguages as a shim between the reality that such 
languages are sometimes considered a single language, and the reality 
that they are sometimes considered a group of languages.  It's a messy 
concept from the standpoint of coding for computer systems, creating 
nice little 2- and 3-letter boxes for things to fit into, but it is the 
way people view these languages and we simply have to work with that.

This is also why I don't apologize for the concept of extended language 
subtags, as they leverage the ISO 639-3 roles of "macrolanguage" and 
"encompassed language" so as to serve both realities with the best 
possible balance.

Doug Ewell  *  Fullerton, California, USA  *  RFC 4645  *  UTN #14

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