proposed ISO 639 change for "arn"

Doug Ewell doug at
Thu Dec 13 18:56:47 CET 2012

Caoimhin O Donnaile <caoimhin at smo dot uhi dot ac dot uk> wrote:

> I see, for what it is worth (and I am no expert so I don’t know), that
> the Linguistlist Multitree Composite Tree, “South American Isolates”:
> has Hulliche included within Mapudungu (code arn) as one of 11 named
> “dialects”.

Experts do disagree on the relationships and groupings between languages
(or dialects). This always has been a controversial area, and always
will be.

BCP 47 has thrown in its lot with ISO 639-3, which (for better or worse)
means that for living, "natural" languages such as these, it is tied to
the judgment of SIL instead of Linguist List in this regard. About the
best that could be done, if one prefers the Linguist List
interpretation, would be to file a change request with ISO 639-3/RA.

However, this discussion would not be happening if not for the
suggestion to change the three-letter code element for Mapudungan,
because the existing one is based on a name that is considered
offensive. That clerical matter should have no influence, zero, on
whether Mapudungan or Huilliche is considered a language or a dialect,
or whether or not the two are regarded as belonging to the same group.

Doug Ewell | Thornton, Colorado, USA | @DougEwell ­

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