Changing definition of German (was: Re: ISO 639-3 releases list of 2009 changes)

Mark Davis ☕ mark at
Sat Jan 23 20:04:54 CET 2010

It appears not to make much difference; they blithely did it with
Lithuanian. The discussion with respect to German has gotten off track; my
view is that they should have treated ALL ISO 639-2/1 codes as if the
language name were prefixed by standard; Standard French, Standard Arabic,
Standard Chinese. Then we wouldn't always be faced with the potential
instability of changing a perfectly normal language code into a macrocode.

But I agree that this discussion is pointless, and I'll say no more on it.


On Sat, Jan 23, 2010 at 10:55, Doug Ewell <doug at> wrote:

> Mark Davis 🍵 <mark at macchiato dot com> wrote:
> > I'm not making myself clear.
> >
> > If the argument is that ISO 639-3 can't make a change in X *because
> > **the Ethnologue says Y, *it doesn't hold water, because the
> > Ethnologue is neither part of nor normatively referenced by ISO 639-3.
> To paraphrase myself from earlier, if ISO 639-3/RA is considering a
> change with which one or more of us disagrees -- say, hypothetically,
> converting 'deu' to a macrolanguage -- then we should lobby ISO 639-3/RA
> to reject the change request, not discuss it to death on this list
> before it has even been requested.
> Please let's change the Subject line when appropriate.
> --
> Doug Ewell  |  Thornton, Colorado, USA  |
> RFC 5645, 4645, UTN #14  |  ietf-languages @ ­
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