The limit of language codes

Christopher Fynn cfynn at
Tue Feb 20 15:46:56 CET 2007

Marion Gunn wrote:

> When construction work on ISO 3166 first began, no thought was given to 
> the matching of territories to languages for tagging purposes, but the 
> development of the web has since given us the more suitable ISO code uk 
> (as used in UK e-mail addresses) it makes more sense to fix that old 
> (gb) error by matching the correct, newer (uk) code to such languages 
> codes as it happens to fit.

Whatever the merits of your case - let's face reality.

There are just too many documents tagged en-gb - not only web pages but 
millions of word processed documents in which a language code is 
automatically embedded based on a users locale or keyboard setting - and 
this code must be hard coded into thousands and thousands of applications.

Many people who sit on standards committees are employees of large IT 
firms and the cost to those companies of updating their applications 
(which would have to support two codes for the same thing for many years 
to come) data and documentation would be enormous.

In the end that cost is going to decide the argument every time.

- Chris

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