Mismatch between ISO 639-2 and ISO 639-3

Mark Davis ☕ mark at macchiato.com
Wed Feb 17 22:31:08 CET 2010

There is a discrepancy between ISO 639-2 and ISO 639-3 for certain
three-letter codes. In particular, the bibliographic codes for Croatian
and Serbian are  hrv and srp respectively in ISO 639-2, whereas ISO 639-3
has them as scr and scc respectively. (There is also a mismatch in the
'3-letter code' for "sh", but that is less important.)

My question is: which one should we believe: ISO 639-2 or ISO 639-3?


For ISO 639-3, we have the following:


hrvhrILCroatiansrpsccsrpsrILSerbianhbsshMLSerbo-CroatianCode element for
639-1 has been deprecated

On the other hand, we find the following in
which matches http://www.loc.gov/standards/iso639-2/ISO-639-2_utf-8.txt

O 639-2 CodeISO 639-1 CodeEnglish name of LanguageFrench name of Language...


Differences between B and T are indicated in the first column, where they
exist, such as:

wel (B)
cym (T)cyWelshgallois
If there are no such differences, then B and T are the same. So this says
that the B forms are hrv and srp respectively, whereas ISO 639-3 has them as
scr and scc respectively.

For ISO 639-2, "sh" is in a different file (there doesn't seem to be a
machine-readable form).


[-sh](none)Serbo-Croatianserbo-croate2000-02-18DepThis code was

In this case, the 3-letter code is indicated as none, while ISO 639-3 has it
as hbs. This is not as problematic, because 'sh' has a funny status in

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