proposed ISO 639 change for "arn"

CE Whitehead cewcathar at
Wed Jan 2 01:29:37 CET 2013

    Oops, I spent 3 weeks without checking this list I guess because this discussion is 3 weeks past. If it's not too late, here are my "two cents."

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”.
lists: Tsesungun Huillichesungun
and Mapudungan "dialects;" and says also that,
"Despite being further away from the center of the Mapudungun language area than Tsesungun, Huillichesungun is closer linguistically to its larger and better known Araucanian sister language Mapudungun."
Thus I would say that if Hulliche/Huilliche is not really a separate language frm Mapudungan under a macro-language including both, other dialects might qualify; but this is not an area I know much about. 
> 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.
Has not the JAC been petitioned?
> 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.
Agreed; either the current code should be deprecated and a new code established, or if there is a reason to consider the separate dialects languages in some circumstances, then if it's find with the speakers, the code [arn] can be changed in scope to macrolanguage. I did not see any part of the dicusssion here or elsewhere pointing to the dialects being a language collection, which as Doug points out in another email, are never considered the same language.
A new petition might be in order if the current petition does not seek the proper change.

I don't see this as a case at all like [rom] but more like the case with "Khoisan" in terms of political correctness (Bushman versus San; Khoi versus Hottentot).


--C. E. Whitehead
cewcathar at

> --
> Doug Ewell | Thornton, Colorado, USA | @DougEwell ­

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