proposed ISO 639 change for "arn"

Phillips, Addison addison at
Tue Dec 11 07:08:41 CET 2012

> > Deprecations generally just cause problems, from software just not
> > accounting for it. So it is best avoided where possible. It would be
> > better to just leave it as arn = Mapudungun
> No, it is better to re-assign "arn" to the macrolanguage and give the user
> community something they will actually use. Look, folks, we don't have a high
> moral ground here. We can't say "suck it up, lads, get over it". Because "arn" is
> clearly "araucano" and whether we like it or not, "araucano" is equivalent to
> "nigger".

Are you sure that's the best solution, though?

Saying it's a macrolanguage basically says that the Mapudungun language is "contained by" Araucano. If your characterization is correct, that actually seems just as offensive, and maybe more so. Further, it would create a new extended language subtag (or two).

I agree with Mark that withdrawing the old code (and thus deprecating it in our registry) would be problematic for implementers (including the librarians) and should be avoided if possible: having only a small number of identified items using the code in one or another place doesn't mean that it's an easy fix. Changing codes is a problem because all implementations must deal with them as special cases effectively forever, not just as a one-time trip to the card catalog.

Actually, Peter's other suggestion (of making it a collection code) starts to seem like the best idea to me. The code is still present, but represents a collection. No special casing or extended language subtags are created. If everyone ignores the collection code hard enough, it will be as if it went away. 


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