639-3 updates

Peter Constable petercon at microsoft.com
Mon May 14 21:25:19 CEST 2007

From: ietf-languages-bounces at alvestrand.no [mailto:ietf-languages-bounces at alvestrand.no] On Behalf Of Kent Karlsson

>>we have the language-collection tags to represent partial ignorance,
>>as when one knows that a document is in a Chamic language but
>>not which one.
>That is a conceivable use, but not one currently supported by ISO 639...

>Use of a collection code is not recommended if there
>is a more specific code available, according to ISO 639-2.

I'm not sure on what basis these statements are made. ISO 639-2 says, "A collective language code is not intended to be used when an individual language code or another more specific collective language code is available." That's not quite the same as "is not recommended", nor does imply that the usage John describes is prohibited. Also, it doesn't say what should happen when the user or application knows that the content is in a language that would be encompassed by the collection but is uncertain whether or not there is a more specific ID, which is precisely the scenario John has in mind.


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