639-3 updates

Kent Karlsson kent.karlsson14 at comhem.se
Tue May 15 23:39:14 CEST 2007

Peter Constable wrote:
> From: Kent Karlsson
> > As it stands, the code would then be 'und', which is the
> > only code given for use when the exact appropriate code is
> > not known.
> IMO, this is the Kent Karlsson view, which reads into
> ISO 639-2 things that are not there.

It's there all right, in clause 4.1.2 Special situations: 
| The language code und (for undetermined) is provided for
| those situations in which a language or languages must be
| indicated but the language cannot be identified.

And 'und' is the only code for which anything like that is said.

> That standard simply doesn't specify
> to the level that you're indicating.

In this particular case it does. See above.

> Extending the logic, one
> might argue that, if I don't know whether content is 'en US'
> or 'en GB' or 'en CA' etc. then I'd be forced to declare it
> as 'und'. Clearly that's not what anybody intends.

I agree with you on the en-NN example. But next to nothing
which applies to prefix matchable tags extend to the
collection code hierarchy. Nor does this one.

> My comments here are not meant to be taken as endorsing
> John's proposal let alone suggesting that ISO 639-2 provides
> endorsement for his proposal. Rather, I'm simply saying I
> think it's a bit of a stretch to argue that his proposal
> is ruled out by ISO 639-2.

It's not ruled out, but clearly "not intended" to use 639-speak
instead of the more common standardese.

> IETF BCP 47 is an application
> making use of ISO 639-2 identifiers, not ISO 639-2 itself.
> It applies some of its own rules, rules that nowhere appear

Indeed, and 4646bis **could** do so for the collection code
hierarchy too, like letting them mean "partial information".
However, 4646 does not do so, nor do (so far) the drafts for

> in ISO 639-2. If BCP 47 chose to prohibit the use of 'dgr'
> for Dogrib and required the use of 'ath' ("Athabaskan
> languages"), that would be perfectly fine, even though
> by the terms of 639-2 an individual language code is
> available and a collective language code is not intended
> to be used in that case.

**IF** one were to "prohibit the use of 'dgr' for Dogrib and
required the use of 'ath'", THEN the code 'dgr' for Dogrib
would **NOT** be available (for this hypothetical version of
BCP 47).

		/kent k
> Peter

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