How to add 2 letter language code in ISO 639-1

John Cowan cowan at
Tue Feb 28 13:48:44 CET 2017

On Tue, Feb 28, 2017 at 5:02 AM, Saroj <sarojchakma20 at> wrote:

Hi, I want to know how to add Chakma Language in two letter code. We have 3
> letter code in ISO 639-3 as ccp.

The contact details for the ISO 639-1 Registration Authority are:

Austrian Standards Institute
Österreichisches Normungsinstitut
Heinestrasse 38
A-1020 Wien

Tel: +43 1 213 00 610 / +43 1 213 00 613
Fax: +43 1 213 00 609
E-mail: ceo at

However, it is very unlikely that Chakma will receive a 2-letter code.  The
text of ISO 639-1 states:

The alpha-2 code was de­vised for practical use for most of the major
> languages of the world that are not only most frequently repre­sented in
> the total body of the world’s literature, but which also comprise a
> considerable volume of spe­cialized languages and terminologies.

While there are some languages on the ISO 639-1 list that clearly don't
qualify by this standard (e.g. Navajo 'nv'), it's unlikely that the
Registration Authority will add any more.  Furthermore, the Registration
Authority as a matter of policy doesn't register any new 2-letter codes for
languages that already have 3-letter codes.  So in practice the 2-letter
codes are a closed list.

In the modern era of language tagging, 2-letter codes are anachronistic,
but we are stuck with them because they are already so widely used.
Adding more of them serves no one well.

John Cowan        cowan at
The first thing you learn in a lawin' family is that there ain't
no definite answers to anything.  --Calpurnia in To Kill A Mockingbird
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