Resolution on ISO 639-3 issues (was: RE: Errors in latest ISO 639-3 release)

Doug Ewell doug at
Fri Jul 29 21:20:48 CEST 2011

Melinda Lyons from ISO 639-3/RA has replied:

> The [tie] change to [ras] is already done. I missed noting it in the
> summary, but the codeset is correct.

'tie' will be deprecated in the Language Subtag Registry with a
Preferred-Value of 'ras'.

> The update to the Malagasy macrolanguage will officially happen in the
> 2011 change cycle. [...] You can go ahead and make the change for IANA
> now if that is helpful to you.

This poses a problem for us, though not a showstopper.  Section 3.1.10
doesn't leave us any wiggle room here; we MUST NOT make a macrolanguage
change that isn't in ISO 639-3:

"The 'Macrolanguage' field can only occur in records of type 'language'
or 'extlang'.  Only values assigned by ISO 639-3 will be considered for
inclusion.  'Macrolanguage' fields MAY be added or removed via the
normal registration process whenever ISO 639-3 defines new values or
withdraws old values.  Macrolanguages are informational, and MAY be
removed or changed if ISO 639-3 changes the values."

What this means is that, until the 2011 change cycle is released, the
deprecated language subtag 'bjq' (Southern Betsimisaraka Malagasy) will
continue to be listed in the Registry with a Macrolanguage field of
'mg', and the new language subtags 'bzc' (also Southern Betsimisaraka
Malagasy) and 'tkg' (Tesaka Malagasy) will not be listed with a
Macrolanguage, even though the latter two are clearly intended as
replacements for 'bjq'.  This may cause some confusion, but should not
drastically affect use of tags or the Registry.

ISO 639-3/RA has set a deadline of August 31, 2011 for submitting change
requests for the 2011 change cycle, which might indicate a release date
in the November to January time frame.  At that point we can make the
changes in the Registry.

I will submit forms and records for the ISO 639-3 changes, as well as
recent changes in ISO 3166-1 (sorry, no South Sudan yet) and ISO 15924,
in the next few days.

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

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