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ISO 639-2 3-letter language codes and RFC 1766

From: <Harald.T.Alvestrand@uninett.no>
Date: Mon, 20 Jan 1997 14:44:25 +0100
To: ietf-languages@uninett.no
cc: ietf-types@uninett.no, www-international@www10.w3.org, iso10646@listproc.hcf.jhu.edu
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In my role as author and responsible maintainer for RFC 1766,
I have now reviewed the ISO proposal for 3-letter language codes.
The most interesting parts are:

- It has 2 sets of codes for its 460-odd languages, which differ
  in 25 places (details below)
- The sets are called "bibliographic" and "terminology" codes, and
  the "bibliographic" is mostly English-based codes, seemingly
  retained for backwards compatibility with installed applications
- There are codes for groups of languages, like "Finno-ugric (Other)"
- There are the special codes "mul" and "unk" for multiple and
  unknown languages, respectively
- Spanish is treated specially: The doc gives "spa" in both columns,
  but a note that "esp" may be used for the terminology code after
  a period of 5 years. No explanation given, but an old tag for
  esperanto may be suspected.
- It has been balloted in ISO/TC37/SC2 and ISO/TC46/SC4
  France voted against in TC46/SC4.
  Germany voted against in TC37/SC2, but did not vote in TC46/SC4.
  Ireland voted against in TC46/SC4.
  USA voted against in TC37/SC2, but in favour in TC46/SC4.
- There's a meeting in July of 1997 to resolve the comments
  (ISOspeak for revising the draft in light of ballot comments)

My opinion is that we should not revise RFC 1766, "Tags for the identification
of languages", the basis for the Content-language: header, to refer to this 
work until the final resolution of comments is done, and the document is 
published as an ISO standard.
And then, if there are still 2 columns, RFC 1766 should refer to only
ONE of them.


                    Harald A

APPENDIX: List of codes that differ in the 2 codespaces

*Albanian           alb           sqi
*Armenian           arm           hye
*Basque             baq           eus
*Burmese            bur           mya
*Chinese            chi           zho
*Croatian           scr           hrv
*Czech              cze           ces
*Dutch              dut           nld
*French             fre           fra
*Gaelic (Scots)     gae           gdh
*Georgian           geo           kat
*German             ger           deu
*Greek, Modern (1453-)gre           ell
*Icelandic          ice           isl
*Irish              iri           gai
*Javanese           jav           jaw
*Macedonian         mac           mkd
*Malay              may           msa
*Maori              mao           mri
*Persian            per           fas
*Romanian           rum           ron
*Serbian            scc           srp
*Slovak             slo           slk
*Tibetan            tib           bod
*Welsh              wel           cym
Received on Monday, 20 January 1997 08:44:45 UTC

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