Macrolanguages, countries & orthographies (RE: ISO 639 name change: Songhai languages)

John Cowan cowan at
Sun Feb 11 07:47:11 CET 2007

Don Osborn scripsit:

> Othographies (as in alphabets and the rules for using them) in Africa are
> generally set on a country level. If the language variations within a
> country are covered by that single orthography, then for some uses it seems
> like macrolanguage-country is an operant level of identification. 

And fortunately we can code that: zh-CN, for example, is Chinese (that is,
some Sinitic language) in China.

> So, Pulaar in western Mali uses the Malian orthography for
> Fulfulde/Pulaar along with other varieties of the language, while Pulaar in
> Senegal (several dialects) use the Senegalese orthography. 

And so we code them ff-ML and ff-fuc-SN respectively.

Your worships will perhaps be thinking          John Cowan
that it is an easy thing to blow up a dog?
[Or] to write a book?
    --Don Quixote, Introduction                 cowan at

More information about the Ietf-languages mailing list