Criteria for languages?

Peter Constable petercon at
Tue Dec 1 18:02:28 CET 2009

From: ietf-languages-bounces at [mailto:ietf-languages-bounces at] On Behalf Of Doug Ewell

> My concern is with converting the existing "Latvian" to a macrolanguage, 
> which implies that the term "Latvian" sometimes refers just to Standard 
> Latvian and sometimes to both Standard Latvian and Latgalian.  

What you are describing is an issue of terminology and documentation: what do people mean when using the term "Latvian". But what we are in fact dealing with is a _coding_ issue: how has "lv" / "lav" been used in implementations, and what existing content is tagged "lv" / "lav"? 

There is clear evidence on the coding issue: MARC has used "lav" for Latgalian for some time.

If the denotation of "lav" were changed to explicitly exclude Latgalian (which would be necessary if its scope is not set to macrolanguage), then an unknown number of librarians will have broken data. It would be irresponsible of the ISO 639-RA/JAC to do such a thing, IMO.


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