[private] Re: ISO 639-5 reconfirmation ballot (long)

Anthony Aristar anthony at aristar.org
Tue Jul 19 05:14:30 CEST 2016

Never intended to send this privately.  I'll forward this to the list.

Anthony Aristar

> On Jul 18, 2016, at 9:42 PM, Doug Ewell <doug at ewellic.org> wrote:
> Not sure why you sent this privately, but...
>>>> Second, we're missing the human factor here. ISO 639-3 is used
>>>> extensively by linguists now. A number of them have personally said
>>>> to me that they don't want to have to look up a code to know whether
>>>> it refers to a subgroup hypothesis or a language.
>>> Then they're in luck, because ISO 639-3 contains no subgroup codes at
>>> all. ISO 639-3 and 639-5 are disjoint sets. It's BCP 47 that employs
>>> both of them.
>> But Doug... How would a human being know if something is in the 639-5
>> set compared to the 639-3 set?  All they will see is the code.  That's
>> certainly all linguists use.
> If linguists are using ISO 639-3 directly, then they will not see any of the 639-5 codes, because 639-3 and 639-5 are disjoint sets. Right?
> They will only potentially see a mixture of individual codes and collection codes if the codes are coming from the IANA Language Subtag Registry (BCP 47), as opposed to 639-3 directly. (And that assumes anyone is even using the collection subtags. If they are as useless as everyone here has said, they're probably not seeing widespread use.)
>> Second... Have you ever looked at how many subgroups there are in even
>> a single tree like I.E.?  I assure you:  you will have no trouble
>> reaching 8000 codes. Unless you feel comfortable telling people who
>> work on small groupings to go take a jump in the lake?
> What kind of system for grouping items, any kind of items, would have more groups than individual items?
> Wait a minute... Caoimhín wrote:
>> 3100 nodes/families/groups in the hierarchies of languages
>> 7600 languages
>> 360 dialect groups
>> 11270 major dialects
>> 22330 codes in total
> OK, nobody had mentioned dialects before. Perhaps that's what was meant all along by "subgroupings": building the tree both upward and downward.
> If we are talking not only about language hierarchies but also about trying to enumerate dialects, à la 639-6, then of course all bets are off and you will certainly need at least four letters.
> --
> Doug Ewell | Thornton, CO, US | ewellic.org 

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