Criteria for languages?

Michael Everson everson at
Tue Dec 1 18:54:05 CET 2009

On 1 Dec 2009, at 17:02, Peter Constable wrote:

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

No different from someone using "ger" to include Bavarian or Swiss.

> 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.

I do not believe that, erm, some "Lettish" is a "macrolanguage"  
including Latvian and Latgalian.

If librarians tagged some Latgalian data with "the nearest thing" that  
still does not mean that all Latvian-language data is broken. If "lav"  
becomes a macrolanguage then to be precise all Latvian books will have  
to be re-tagged.

Michael Everson *

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