Criteria for languages?

ISO639-3 at ISO639-3 at
Tue Dec 1 18:47:55 CET 2009

I think you are looking at one kind of tagging. There are other 
applications of this code set.

There are dozens of examples in the Library of Congress cataloging records 
which specifically state that the content is Latgalian, but the tag in the 
fixed length fields (008, 041) is 'lav'. Furthermore, their documentation 
(the MARC Code List for Languages) states that 'lav' should be used in 
this field when the content is in Latgalian.

That is the primary reason that the macrolanguage has been proposed. It 
was the point that Peter Constable was making.

This is not the case with Walliser, as far as I can tell, and that is why 
the proposals are structured differently.

Joan Spanne
ISO 639-3/RA
SIL International
7500 W Camp Wisdom Rd
Dallas, TX 75236
ISO639-3 at

"Doug Ewell" <doug at> 
Sent by: ietf-languages-bounces at
2009-11-30 07:19 PM

<ietf-languages at>

Re: Criteria for languages?

CE Whitehead <cewcathar at hotmail dot com> wrote:

> To me, since Latgalia n has its own distinct writing system, and its 
> own literature (thus meeting the criteria for a separate language at 
> ethnologue; 
> I do not see any problem with its getting its own language subtag.

For my part, at least, I have no problem with the idea that Latgalian 
should get its own language subtag if experts feel it is a distinct 
language.  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.  I don't necessarily get the impression that the latter is 
true; it seems that when people mean Latgalian, they say "Latgalian."

Doug Ewell  |  Thornton, Colorado, USA  |
RFC 5645, 4645, UTN #14  |  ietf-languages @ ­

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