Applying for a common Moroccan Amazigh subtag

John Cowan cowan at
Tue Jan 4 17:05:59 CET 2011

Patrick Andries scripsit:

> [PA] Well, that is really the question.  Any disadvantage of choosing a  
> macrolanguage over a new language code? Which is easier to get? Which is  
> preferred by software implementors?

On reflection, I think that I was wrong to propose a macrolanguage at
this stage, and that this is really a new language analogous to Standard
German.  If it succeeds, it will then be time to talk of a macrolanguage
that encompasses the new standard as well as the existing languages,
as 'ar' encompasses both Standard Arabic and the colloquials, and 'zh'
encompasses both Mandarin and the other Sinitic languages.

(Why is it a new language and not just a new dialect?  Because it draws
on the resources of a number of existing languages, and most importantly,
it has an _armey un flot_!)

To answer your other questions, I think that neither one is particularly
easier to get, and as for software implementers, I don't think they care
one way or another.

> Is it best to let the ISO 639-3 Registrarmake that decision? (What  
> should be done then? Applying for both a macrolanguage and a new  
> language code?)

It's always best, in my opinion, to submit a definite proposal.  If
the RA does not like it, they will change it.

> [PA]  So I understand 639-2 is out of the question...?

Not in principle.  There are surely enough works in the language by now
to meet the chief criterion, namely that there must exist at least fifty
works in the language, all of which can be found by looking in no more
than five different libraries.  (You are not required to enumerate the
works.)  But the 693-2/RA would most likely pass along any such proposal
to the 639-3/RA for approval on linguistic grounds before entering into
bibliographical questions.

You let them out again, Old Man Willow!                 John Cowan
What you be a-thinking of?  You should not be waking!   cowan at
Eat earth!  Dig deep!  Drink water!  Go to sleep!
Bombadil is talking.                          

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