ISO 639-3 changes

Philip Newton philip.newton at
Sun Jan 25 19:43:13 CET 2015

On 25 January 2015 at 18:16, Doug Ewell <doug at> wrote:
> 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 capitalized.
> 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 languages.

Sounds reasonable to me. FWIW, I’d vote for U+02BC MODIFIER LETTER APOSTROPHE.

> 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 .)

Abstain on this. I would tend to prefer having a ‘proper’ name in
there, even if it looks very similar to the ASCII-only name, but if
this is considered problematic I’m not going to complain.


More information about the Ietf-languages mailing list