Criteria for languages?

John Cowan cowan at
Wed Dec 2 01:45:28 CET 2009

Randy Presuhn scripsit:

> Does anyone know why the MARC people decided that a single code would
> suffice for both languages?  Is there no need to distinguish them for
> bibliographic purposes??

The history of ISO 639 is the history of a rough-and-ready coding system
designed for bibliographers being subverted by linguists to their own
purposes.  It doesn't matter to much *to bibliographers* if a book is
Latvian or Latgalian, at least not enough that they were willing to
change it within the framework of 639-2 (which is by intention bibliographic).
To others, it may matter quite a lot.

Some people open all the Windows;       John Cowan
wise wives welcome the spring           cowan at
by moving the Unix.           
  --ad for Unix Book Units (U.K.)

More information about the Ietf-languages mailing list