ISO 639-5 code list is available

Rebecca S Guenther rgue at
Fri Feb 20 21:19:50 CET 2009

The ISO 639-5 code list (Codes for the Representation of Names of Languages. Part 5: Alpha-3 code for language families and groups) is now available from the Library of Congress, which has been designated its Registration authority: 

ISO 639-5 provides a code consisting of language code elements comprising three-letter language identifiers for the representation of names of living and extinct language families and groups.

ISO 639-2 (Alpha-3 code) includes some language groups and language families, but by no means a complete list. The purpose of the code elements for language groups and language families in ISO 639-2 is to provide a means to register the language of a document even when the individual language in question is not included in the code table because it doesn't meet the criteria for establishing a separate code. ISO 639-5 supplements the coding of language groups and language families in ISO 639-2. However, the depth and detail of coding in ISO 639-5 is intended to support the overall language coding of the ISO 639 series of International Standards rather than provide a scientific classification of the languages of the world. 

The list will be maintained by the ISO 639 Joint Advisory Committee with the Library of Congress as Registration Authority.

Rebecca S. Guenther                                                       
 Senior Networking and Standards Specialist                  
 Network Development and MARC Standards Office     
 Library of Congress   
 101 Independence Ave. SE                                       
 Washington, DC 20540                                                      
 Washington, DC 20540-4402                                          
 (202) 707-5092 (voice)    (202) 707-0115 (FAX)           
 rgue at

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