Title of ISO 639-5 (was: Re: Ietf-languages Digest, Vol 74, Issue 1)

Doug Ewell doug at ewellic.org
Sun Feb 22 19:43:47 CET 2009

Anthony Aristar <aristar at linguistlist dot org> wrote:

> The official term for 639-5 is, after all: "Codes for the 
> Representation of Names of Languages. Part 5: Alpha-3 code for 
> language families and groups"  If what John says is true -- and I am 
> quite willing to believe it is -- then this title is not merely 
> misleading, but erroneous.  This is not, it seems, what these codes 
> are actually doing.

It's well known that linguists and other experts disagree, sometimes 
forcefully, as to the correct ways to classify languages.  But I think 
it is a stretch to say that ISO 639-5 does not in fact encode "language 
families and groups," even if the families and groups may be considered 
kind of a mish-mash.

ISO 639-5 defines the terms "language family" and "language group" and 
does not make any claim that these definitions, or its classification 
system, are the only ones possible.


Doug Ewell  *  Thornton, Colorado, USA  *  RFC 4645  *  UTN #14
http://www.alvestrand.no/mailman/listinfo/ietf-languages  ˆ 

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