Appeal to ISO 639 RA in support of Elfdalian

Peter Constable petercon at
Mon Apr 25 21:58:26 CEST 2016

The situation on the internet would be no different than it is today for zh in relation to cmn.


-----Original Message-----
From: Ietf-languages [mailto:ietf-languages-bounces at] On Behalf Of Caoimhin O Donnaile
Sent: Monday, April 25, 2016 11:12 AM
To: Doug Ewell <doug at>
Cc: ietf-languages <ietf-languages at>
Subject: Re: Appeal to ISO 639 RA in support of Elfdalian

> Compare Peter's suggestion with what was done for Latgalian in 2010 to 
> distinguish it from Latvian:

Am I right in thinking that if swe was made a macrolanguage encompassing Swedish and Elfdalian, then the ISO 639 RA would have to register a new three letter code for Swedish proper, in the same way that a new three letter code lvs was registered for Latvian?  Let’s say for the sake of argument that this new code was svn.

The two-letter ISO 639-1 code sv would then presumably be equated with swe (just as it is at present) rather than with svn.  Just as:
lv is equated with macrolanguage lav rather than standard Latvian lvs, ms is equated with macrolanguage msa rather than standard Malay zsm, az is equated with macrolanguage aze rather than dominant Northern Azeri azj, and so on:

The correct code for Swedish (proper) on the Internet would then become svn rather than sv, in the same way that the correct code for standard Latvian is lvs rather than lv.  Except that Google (e.g. in Google
Translate) takes the pragmatic approach of continuing to use lv for standard Latvian, ms for standard Malay, etc.

This seems to me like a messy situation which would be best avoided except when there is no alternative.


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