Criteria for languages?

John Cowan cowan at
Wed Dec 2 22:10:42 CET 2009

Randy Presuhn scripsit:

> As I understand it, only a need to distinguish Latvian and Latgalian
> has been identified, and there doesn't seem to be much expectation
> for much else to be encompassed by a Latvian macrolanguage.
> It seems that designating Latvian as a macrolanguage is serious
> overkill in this situation, and that all would be better served by treating
> Latgalian as a variant.  I'd love to hear from someone with first-hand
> knowledge of these languages.

The median number of languages encompassed by a macrolanguage is 3;
the modal number is 2, so 2 cannot be called an untypical number of
encompassed languages for a macrolanguage.

In any case, the question "Should lv become a macrolanguage" is not
appropriate to this forum, but to ISO 639-3/RA.  If you have comments,
send them there.

What is (or rather, will be, if the RA acts) an issue for us is "Should
lvs and lgt be registered as extlangs as well as individual languages?"
And logically prior to that issue is the issue at hand, namely "Do we
have the power to do so without overriding an RFC 5646 SHOULD NOT?"

John Cowan  cowan at
The competent programmer is fully aware of the strictly limited size of his own
skull; therefore he approaches the programming task in full humility, and among
other things he avoids clever tricks like the plague.  --Edsger Dijkstra

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