New UN M.49 code element for South Sudan

Doug Ewell doug at
Sat Jul 16 21:43:58 CEST 2011

Misha Wolf <Misha dot Wolf at thomsonreuters dot com> wrote:
What will we do re the rump “Sudan” if the ISO 3166 MA gives it the “SD” Alpha-2 code which used to belong to the old Sudan?

Good question.  That will almost certainly happen; the MA almost never changes code elements unless the name of the country changes substantially.  That being the case, we have little rationale for changing the subtag.

The answer is that we can:

(a) Do nothing, or

(b) Add a Comments field to the record for SD, something to the effect of “See also XX”, in case we feel that this is necessary to identify a regional variety of one of the 133 (Ethnologue) living languages spoken in the old Sudan.

Optionally, we can also add a “See also SD” comment to the new XX region record.  This might provide a hint for backward-compatible matching, but again it would only be justified in the case where some language ‘xxx’ is spoken in South Sudan and also somewhere else, and the South Sudan variety needs to be identified as such in language tags, and this would have been tagged “xxx-SD” previously, and “xxx-XX” in the future.

As a side note, I have no clue what the new alpha-2 code element will be.  Western European representatives on the MA might object to ‘SS’.

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