ISO 639 decision: arc = Official Aramaic; Imperial Aramaic

John Cowan cowan at
Tue May 29 06:55:47 CEST 2007

Doug Ewell scripsit:

> >The item "arc", which has been encoded in ISO 639-2 and ISO 639-3 with 
> >the name "Aramaic" and "araméen" (English and French), is changed to 
> >"Official Aramaic; Imperial Aramaic" and "araméen d'empire", with an 
> >addition of a note indicating the time span 700-300 BCE.
> This was 26 days ago.  When can we expect this decision to be reflected 
> in the lists on the official ISO 639-2 Web site?  I've been waiting to 
> see how the "time span" note is worded before proposing a change to the 
> IETF Language Subtag Registry. 

Okay, but this is the essence of the issue we had before: is this
narrowing, or simply clarifying?  There are lots of languages called
"Aramaic"; is the RA/JAC making a distinction that wasn't made before,
or has "arc" always been intended to signify Imperial Aramaic only,
and that's just being spelled out for the first time?

Havard, can you comment?  It makes a lot of difference to us.

In politics, obedience and support      John Cowan <cowan at>
are the same thing.  --Hannah Arendt

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