Request of new variant subtag for kichwa (inside qu)

mailler at mailler at
Tue Jun 14 11:40:32 CEST 2011

> If it's a variant, that would be on the basis then this basically
> designates an orthography, and in that case I agree with John that the
> applicable individual language subtags are probably better prefixes than
> the macrolanguage subtag (though perhaps the latter could also be listed
> as a valid prefix).

Hello again,

In my opinion and following these arguments, I think the best thing is to
consider a -kichwa subtag applying to individual language subtags but also
to the macrolanguage tag (since a kichwa translation of the Constitution
of Ecuador as well as a kichwa section on the website of the National
Assembly of Ecuador is available and these are obviously not intended to
be in a particular regional dialect (at least it is not mentioned

This does not prevent to submit later a request for a new language when
the language is more consolidated (reference publications have only 1-2
years, the Unified Basque needed 30 to be recognized by SIL and I tend to
think this is fair because language dynamics are something slow and heavy,
I think that just the orthographic tag is a good first step).

Following the recent reactions and arguments provided,  I would like to
precise the request as :
* a -kichwa variant subtag to denote the Unified kichwa orthography as
described in the dictionary I linked in the original request
* that this subtag may be applied to all regional dialects of quechua
spoken in Ecuador, namely :
Quichua, Calderón Highland  [qud] (Ecuador)
Quichua, Cañar Highland  [qxr] (Ecuador)
Quichua, Chimborazo Highland  [qug] (Ecuador)
Quichua, Imbabura Highland  [qvi] (Ecuador)
Quichua, Loja Highland  [qvj] (Ecuador)
Quichua, Northern Pastaza  [qvz] (Ecuador)
Quichua, Salasaca Highland  [qxl] (Ecuador)
Quichua, Tena Lowland  [quw] (Ecuador)
These q..-kichwa codes could be applied to traditional material coming
from a definite region (folk tales etc.) if the person putting them online
chooses to use the unified orthography - up to now the number of pages
using these tags would be extremely reduced as far as I know but this
makes sense from a logical point of view.
* That this subtag may be applied directly to the macrolanguage qu for
publications that do not intend to be written in a particular dialect
(e.g. Constitution, National Assembly publications, CODENPE publications,
wikipedia in kichwa). The interpretation of the Ecuadorian govt, bilingual
education system and indigenous organisations is that these
dialects/languages have sufficient interintelligibility to allow
publications that do not state a particular regional variant.

If it becomes justified later, one may request a ISO code if it becomes
clear that a unified version of kichwa has succeeded in coming in
widespread use in Ecuador.


Sylvain Mailler

> Peter
> -----Original Message-----
> From: ietf-languages-bounces at
> [mailto:ietf-languages-bounces at] On Behalf Of
> mailler at
> Sent: Thursday, June 09, 2011 4:17 AM
> To: ietf-languages at
> Subject: Re: Ietf-languages Digest, Vol 101, Issue 4
>> Date: Wed, 08 Jun 2011 14:52:58 +0200
>> From: Kent Karlsson <kent.karlsson14 at>
>> However I could find nothing on it either by searching or else where I
>> found primitive Irish, at
> Hello,
> Here is a link to a discussion referring to the request, even though from
> the discussion it is not clear whether there has been a formal request or
> the request has stopped after a preliminar discussion :
> "After talking to SIL about what would be the correct code, we ended on
> qu_EC since no new language codes will be assigned for reasons of new
> dialects, orthograpies or similar less important changes."
>> From: John Cowan <cowan at>
>> mailler at scripsit:
>>> I read that an ISO 639-3 code for Unified kichwa has already been
>>> rejected by SIL, I do not know when or on which ground, I was not
>>> filing the request myself. Possibly, the request was filed the
>>> existing literature was not sufficient (the main books describing the
>>> language are from 2009-2010).
>> That sounds like it was an ISO *639-2* request.  I think a 639-3
>> request might be looked on more favorably.
>>From the discussion I cite above at, it seems that a
>> request or at least questions have been made to the SIL with the goal of
>> requesting a ISO 639-3 code, and that the SIL said there were no
>> prospects that the request is successful on the grounds that "no new
>> language codes will be assigned for reasons of new dialects, orthograpies
>> or similar less important changes"
>> From: John Cowan <cowan at>
>> Here are the SIL/ISO standard criteria for defining languages:
>> * Two related varieties are normally considered varieties of the same
>>   language if speakers of each variety have inherent understanding of
>>   the other variety at a functional level (that is, can understand based
>>   on knowledge of their own variety without needing to learn the other
>>   variety).
> I had oral confirmation of that point from a kichwa speaker from the
> Lowlands who told me that he was able (with some discomfort) to talk to a
> highland speaker, and from Imbabura speakers (northern highlands) who said
> they were able to communicate in kichwa with people from the Chimborazo
> highlands even though it is considered three different languages by SIL. I
> would compare situation of the kichwa variants inside Ecuador to Occitan
> in France and neighbouring countries where speakers from distant places
> are more or less able to understand each other but with a high degree of
> discomfort (Occitan is considered a single language by SIL).
> Interestingly, a comparable merging process seems to have occured
> massively in 2008 for Mexican/Cantral american languages (Cakchiquel - 9
> codes merged -, Quiché - 5 codes merged - and others) in 2008 :
> I think that, arguably, the kichwa variants may be merged as well.
> However, I clearly don't have the sufficient knowledge and background to
> go there and request that they change this, nor would I want to do that,
> it regards primarily kichwa speakers or at least Ecuadorian people (in my
> opinion) whereas having a new IETF code like qu-kichwa just to recognize
> the existence of the "unified" version doesn't hurt anyone and doesn't
> negate the existence of the regional ways of speaking, so that it would be
> the least intrusive thing to do right now in my opinion.
> Yours,
> Sylvain Mailler
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