FYI: withdrawal of ISO 639-6

Peter Constable petercon at
Wed Oct 22 02:54:59 CEST 2014

While ISO 639-6 did get approved and published, the code table for 639-6 has never been made fully available in a usable manner. What data has been available has been looked at by lots of people with a response that they don't find it particularly useful for any practical application. Moreover, the agency that was designated as registration authority appears to have ceased its operations. In a nutshell, 639-6 had in many respects failed.

For the record, I supported this decision, but I don't think I was a particular factor in this. There was input from multiple countries suggesting that this be withdrawn. Not surprisingly


-----Original Message-----
From: John Cowan [mailto:cowan at] On Behalf Of John Cowan
Sent: Tuesday, October 21, 2014 1:26 PM
To: Peter Constable
Cc: ietf-languages at
Subject: Re: FYI: withdrawal of ISO 639-6

Peter Constable scripsit:

> At the TC37/SC2 meeting this past summer in Berlin, a decision was 
> taken to initiate a committee ballot to withdraw ISO 639-6, "Alpha-4 
> code for comprehensive coverage of language variants". That ballot has 
> just closed and has passed (simple majority required). At this point, 
> national bodies will be notified and given two months in which they 
> can raise objections to withdrawal.

Thanks for the heads-up.  Were any reasons given?

John Cowan        cowan at
In politics, obedience and support are the same thing.  --Hannah Arendt

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