proposed ISO 639 change for "arn"

Gordon P. Hemsley gphemsley at
Mon Dec 10 23:24:36 CET 2012

On Mon, Dec 10, 2012 at 5:10 PM, Phillips, Addison <addison at> wrote:
>> On 10 December 2012 20:50, Gordon P. Hemsley <gphemsley at>
>> wrote:
>> > Why not just deprecate the code and issue a new one? Isn't there
>> > precedence for that?
>> Hebrew (iw --> he), Indonesian (in --> id), and Yiddish (ji --> yi) come to mind.
>> (Though I don't know the procedure that was used there.)
> BCP 47 actually has several things to say about this. First off, this is explicitly allowed. However, Section 3.3, in describing what is allowed, suggests that ISO 639 would need to withdraw the code 'arn' (although it doesn't say so quite that directly). If a new code were created for 'arn', the existing code could, in theory, be deprecated with a new Preferred-Value even if ISO 639 did not withdraw the code. It would be best, though, if there were something for the registry to draw on rather than just doing this registration separately.
> However, sounds like ISO 639 is also concerned about stability and doesn't want to withdraw the code altogether. Moving it to ISO 639-5 doesn't help, since those codes aren't deprecated in BCP 47. This might be a very special case? (The three cited by Philip Newton are historical and are documented in the body of BCP 47).

I was under the impression that this was a preliminary discussion to
gather additional feedback to help ISO 639 make an informed decision,
rather than deciding independently what to do within the scope of BCP
47. At least, that was the framework under which I was asking my
question. I imagine we'll be in a better position to decide what to do
with the old and new codes once a decision is made in ISO 639.

And, of course, I meant "precedent", not "precedence".

Gordon P. Hemsley
me at

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