Criteria for languages?

John Cowan cowan at
Thu Dec 3 19:30:14 CET 2009

Doug Ewell scripsit:

> This rule also does not apply to 'lv', since there are no other 
> languages encompassed by the macrolanguage (since it was not, until now, 
> a macrolanguage).

It doesn't now, but if the change passes, it will.  Then we cannot create
an extlang tag for lvs, because ltg does not have one, and we cannot
create an extlang tag for ltg, because lvs does not have one.  You may not
like this reading of 12.C.2, but it is a possible reading.

> As Addison points out, either (a) 'ltg' and 'lvs' both get extlangs, or 
> (b) neither one does.

I agree with that, and I agree that we have the power to give them extlangs,
but only if we meet the RFC 2119 rules for overriding a SHOULD NOT.

> Of course, all of this presumes ISO 639-3/RA takes the requested actions 
> on Latvian, and the same decision process (possibly with different 
> results) applies to the new Lithuanian subtags as well if those are 
> approved.

Indeed.  In addition to Latvian and Lithuanian, the following individual
languages are being proposed for change to macrolanguage scope, some
with renaming:

Blang 'blr': rename to Plang, encompass 3 new individual languages,
with a strong probability that this list will grow.

Central Bontoc 'bnc': rename to Bontok, encompass 5 new individual
languages including Central Bontok (narrowly defined).

Low German 'nds': encompass 10 existing and 1 new individual language.
(This one is very sparse on evidence, and my personal suspicion is that it
won't fly without much more support.)

John Cowan  cowan at
Big as a house, much bigger than a house, it looked to [Sam], a grey-clad
moving hill.  Fear and wonder, maybe, enlarged him in the hobbit's eyes,
but the Mumak of Harad was indeed a beast of vast bulk, and the like of him
does not walk now in Middle-earth; his kin that live still in latter days are
but memories of his girth and his majesty.  --"Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit"

More information about the Ietf-languages mailing list