new code for SS

Doug Ewell doug at
Thu Aug 11 00:49:59 CEST 2011

Philip Newton <philip dot newton at gmail dot com> wrote:

>> For those who care, note that the numeric code for Sudan changes, but
>> the two-letter code doesn't (ugg).
> I expect that this means that a code "736" will be registered with the
> language subtag registry, to refer to the area formerly represented by
> "SD"?

No, the reverse would happen: if we were to decide that this constitutes
"reuse" of an alpha-2 code element, we would keep 'SD' for the old Sudan
and register '729' for the new one.

I'm not convinced that this is a problem we need to solve in the
Registry.  Misha previously compared this to the use of 'YU' to mean,
first, the original Yugoslavia with its pre-1991 borders, and later, the
entity consisting only of Serbia and Montenegro (before it was renamed
as such in 2003).  As with Sudan, the same alpha-2 code element
continued to be used after the borders had changed.

IMHO, this is *not* the same situation as when ISO 3166/MA allocated
'CS' to Serbia and Montenegro in 2003 after it had previously been used
for Czechoslovakia (until 1993).  That was the scenario that gave rise
to the following provision in RFC 5646 (Section 2.2.4, item 4.C), and in
a very real way, to the entire effort to replace RFC 3066:

"When ISO 3166-1 reassigns a code formerly used for one country or area
to another country or area and that code already is present in the
registry, the UN numeric code for that country or area MUST be
registered in the registry as described in Section 3.4 and MUST be used
to form language tags that represent the country or region for which it
is defined (rather than the recycled ISO 3166-1 code)."

Misha wrote on July 16:

"One could argue that taking the alpha-2 code belonging to 736 and
assigning it to 729 would constitute re-use."

I suggest that the Reviewer and list members consider this question
during the two-week review period for the following proposed record and
registration form.  I personally do not feel region subtags are designed
to capture this level of geographical detail, but others may feel

Another question to consider is whether the record for 'SS' should have
a Comments field cross-referencing the user to 'SD', and vice versa.
Again IMHO, we should do this only if doing so would provide an
advantage for users searching for the right language tag to identify or
specify linguistic content—not just to provide a historic record of
evolution of nations, which is not the purpose of the Registry.


File-Date: 2011-08-25
Type: region
Subtag: SS
Description: South Sudan
Added: 2011-08-25



1. Name of requester: Doug Ewell
2. E-mail address of requester: doug at
3. Record Requested:

   Type: region
   Subtag: SS
   Description: South Sudan

4. Intended meaning of the subtag:

5. Reference to published description
   of the language (book or article):

6. Any other relevant information:

   This registration tracks a change made to ISO 3166-1 effective
   2011-08-09, adding the code element 'SS' for South Sudan.

   For more information on this change, see ISO 3166-1 Newsletter VI-10
   at .

Doug Ewell | Thornton, Colorado, USA | RFC 5645, 4645, UTN #14 | | @DougEwell ­

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