Available three-letter subtags (was: Re: Applying for a common Moroccan Amazigh subtag)

Doug Ewell doug at ewellic.org
Wed Jan 5 16:27:25 CET 2011

CE Whitehead <cewcathar at hotmail dot com> wrote:

>> The easiest way to find out whether a tag is available or not is to
>> put it for xxx in the URL
>> http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=xxx .  If you get
>> back the message "xxx is not a language code used in the Ethnologue,
>> 16th edition, nor is it a valid ISO 639-3 code", then the tag is
>> truly free.
> According to both R. Ishida's utility and the search tool at
> ethnologue both [zgh] and [azh] and are available.  (Correct me if
> [azh] is not available.)
> (I suppose there is no reason however to also search in R. Ishida's
> utility -- which provides information about existing subtags but not
> about all language codes; not all ethnologue codes become language
> subtag codes, and not quite every code that is indexed in ethnologue's
> search utility is indexed in Richard Ishida's language subtag utility;
> see http://people.w3.org/rishida/utils/subtags/). 

Technically, the relationship is not to Ethnologue codes, but to ISO
639-3 code elements, although I know these are kept in sync by policy. 
Ethnologue's site does include vestigial pages for constructed and
historic languages which are actually standardized via Linguist List.  I
would argue that the best URL to check for availability is:


Doug Ewell | Thornton, Colorado, USA | http://www.ewellic.org
RFC 5645, 4645, UTN #14 | ietf-languages @ is dot gd slash 2kf0s ­

More information about the Ietf-languages mailing list