ISO 639-2 decision: "mis"

Mark Davis mark.davis at
Wed Jun 13 23:55:28 CEST 2007

This is a mixed bag. On the one hand, it is great to finally get some
clarity on the intended meaning for the future. On the other hand, it means
that this code's meaning is intrinsically intended to narrow over time; as
each new code is added, its meaning narrows to cover fewer situations. This
is inherently *unstable*, and unsuitable for any situation that demands
stability, like BCP 47.

Note that this still does not allow a narrowing of "mis" in BCP 47. However,
for this case I think it makes the case strong enough for completely
deprecating "mis" in BCP 47bis.


On 6/13/07, John Cowan <cowan at> wrote:
> Håvard  Hjulstad scripsit:
> > The identifier mis, which has been part of ISO 639-2 since its
> > publication in 1998, has its scope changed from collective to special
> > purpose.
> >
> > The previously assigned "names" in English and French were
> > "miscellaneous languages" and "diverses, langues". These "names"
> > have been changed to uncoded languages and langues non codées.
> Hurrah!
> --
> In my last lifetime,                            John Cowan
> I believed in reincarnation;          
> in this lifetime,                               cowan at
> I don't.  --Thiagi
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