Anomaly in upcoming registry

Doug Ewell doug at
Mon Jun 29 04:48:21 CEST 2009

Mark Davis <mark at macchiato dot com> wrote:

> In the registry, we have 'sh' as Deprecated. Once we update to 639-3 
> with the new registry and version of BCP 47, I think it will be time 
> to fix this, removing the "Deprecated" field from 'sh'. I'll plan on 
> submitting a Registration Form to that end.

This was largely intentional in draft-4645bis, because the code element 
was deprecated in (or withdrawn from, they use both terms) ISO 639-1. 
Part of it may have been a side effect of overlooking the change from 
RFC 4646, where a Deprecated field in the Registry could never be 
removed, to draft-4646bis, where it can.

Quoting from the ISO 639-2 change page:

"This code was deprecated in 2000 because there were separate language 
codes for each individual language represented (Serbian, Croatian, and 
then Bosnian was added). It was published in a revision of ISO 639-1, 
but never was included in ISO 639-2. It is considered a macrolanguage 
(general name for a cluster of closely related individual languages) in 
ISO 639-3. Its deprecated status was reaffirmed by the ISO 639 JAC in 

The real anomaly, then, is within ISO 639, in which:

part 1 includes the 2-letter code element but deprecates it,
part 3 includes the 3-letter code element and does not deprecate it, and
part 2 does not include the 3-letter code element at all.

In draft-4646bis we are adding ISO 639-3 to the list of source 
standards, not necessarily replacing ISO 639-1 and -2.  At least I can't 
find any text in draft-4646bis to the effect that -3 trumps -1 and -2 in 
case of conflicts.  So to me, it is not clear whether this subtag should 
be left alone (following part 1 but not part 3) or should be 
un-deprecated (following part 3 but not part 1).  It certainly isn't 
patently obvious to me that this is a bug in the draft-4645bis Registry 
that needs to be fixed.

Doug Ewell  *  Thornton, Colorado, USA  *  RFC 4645  *  UTN #14  ˆ 

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