ISO 639-3 changes

Doug Ewell doug at
Sun Jan 25 18:16:09 CET 2015

Here is my proposal for Description fields with click letters:

1. For ease in reviewing, I'd like to wait until we get through the 40+ 
ISO 639-3 changes before going back and fixing existing subtags. But, 
since one of the ISO 639-3 changes will involve a language with a click 
letter (ǂUngkue), we should determine a strategy now, so that the new 
subtag will follow the pattern we establish for others.

2. Subtags should have two Description fields: one with the real click 
letter and one with the ASCII fallback(s) used by 639-3.

2a. When we add ǂUngkue, my opinion is that we should also include an 
ASCII fallback version (/=Ungkue), but I won't insist on that.

3. The first ASCII letter (A-Z) in the name should always be 

4. For existing subtags, when we add a Description with a real click 
letter, we can simultaneously "correct" any ASCII apostrophes. We have 
already used both U+02BC MODIFIER LETTER APOSTROPHE (for Gwichʼin) and 
U+2019 RIGHT SINGLE QUOTATION MARK (for N’Ko, both language and script), 
and I would prefer to stick to one of these consistently for the African 

5. We should not create "hybrid" Description fields that differ *only* 
by type of apostrophe, as we currently have with N’Ko, since these are 
hard to distinguish. (Yes, I know it is even harder to distinguish ! 
from ǃ .)

We only need to agree on items 2a and 3 in order to add ǂUngkue.

Doug Ewell | Thornton, CO, USA | ­

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