Phonetic orthographies

John Cowan cowan at
Mon Nov 27 19:15:42 CET 2006

CE Whitehead scripsit:

> [Arabic is] still classed as one language.

It depends where you look.  In ISO 639-1/2 it is indeed a single language.
In the draft version of 639-3, however, there is a single "macrolanguage"
code for Arabic, an "individual language" code for Standard Arabic,
and about 30 individual language codes for various Arabic colloquials.
The macrolanguage is taken to encompass all of these individual languages.

> For Chinese, I'm not so sure.

Same story: one language for 639-1/2, but in draft 639-3, a macrolanguage
and about a dozen individual languages, one of which is Mandarin.
There are almost 60 such macrolanguages in the draft.

Here lies the Christian,                        John Cowan
        judge, and poet Peter,        
Who broke the laws of God                       cowan at
        and man and metre.

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