proposed ISO 639 change for "arn"
Gordon P. Hemsley
gphemsley at gmail.com
Tue Dec 11 21:36:34 CET 2012
On Tue, Dec 11, 2012 at 2:58 PM, Doug Ewell <doug at ewellic.org> wrote:
> "Gordon P. Hemsley" <gphemsley at gmail dot com> wrote:
>> I was under the impression that "macrolanguage" was for languages that
>> were genetically related and "collection" was for languages that are
>> commonly grouped together for reasons other than genetic relationship
>> (e.g. location of use). That understanding does not coincide with the
>> way you just explained it.
> A macrolanguage is defined as ISO 639-3 defines it. To be a
> macrolanguage, the entity must be perceived, for whatever reason, as a
> single language in some scenarios and as multiple languages in other
> scenarios. It is not a special type of collection.
According to RFC 5646, Section 3.1.11:
o 'macrolanguage' - Indicates a macrolanguage as defined by ISO
639-3 (see Section 3.1.10). A macrolanguage is a cluster of
closely related languages that are sometimes considered to be a
o 'collection' - Indicates a subtag that represents a collection of
languages, typically related by some type of historical,
geographical, or linguistic association. Unlike a macrolanguage,
a collection can contain languages that are only loosely related
and a collection cannot be used interchangeably with languages
that belong to it.
RFC 5646, Section 3.1.10:
ISO 639-3 defines the term "macrolanguage" to mean "clusters of
closely-related language varieties that [...] can be considered
distinct individual languages, yet in certain usage contexts a single
language identity for all is needed". These correspond to codes
registered in ISO 639-2 as individual languages that were found to
correspond to more than one language in ISO 639-3.
Given those definitions, it doesn't seem like my understanding is too
far off the mark. The term "linguistic association" is a bit vague,
and I wouldn't immediately understand that to mean language families
like the examples you gave ("Romance languages" and "Austro-Asiatic
Nonetheless, your explanations fit within those definitions, as well.
Bringing this back on topic, it doesn't seem like either of these
designations would be appropriate here. I still think the simplest
thing to do would be to simply deprecate "arn" and issue a new code
for the language, despite the ramifications it will have on deployed
software; doing anything else would have more complicated (and,
potentially, more serious) ramifications, I think.
And if such a situation arises again in the hypothetical future, it
can be addressed again then.
Gordon P. Hemsley
me at gphemsley.org
http://gphemsley.org/ • http://gphemsley.org/blog/
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