I am obviously aware of this principle, and I was so when I submitted these items for discussion. This needs to be a very strong principle. However, it isn't the only principle we have to go by. I trust that JAC members will be able to assess how to weigh the various "shoulds" in each individual case.
An interesting discussion might be what impact 639-3 has on this. If a language is "just" in 639-3, but not in 639-2, it may get an alpha-2 identifier; if it already is considered "important" enough to be in 639-2, it will never get an alpha-2 identifier. (Some will use this as an argument to discontinue the assigning of alpha-2 identifiers altogether, but that is not the issue here.)
I am not arguing for alpha-2 identifiers for Palauan or any other language; I am just saying that we should be open to assess the merits of each proposal, and not reject based on a "mechanical rule".
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From: ISO 639 Joint Advisory Committee [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Milicent K Wewerka
Sent: Thursday, November 10, 2005 8:50 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: New ISO 639 proposal - Palauan - Discussion
This applies to Tetum and Tok Pisin also.
Milicent Wewerka, Library of Congress
>>> [log in to unmask] 11/10/05 2:32 PM >>>
It has been our principle for a very long time not to consider adding a
639-1 code unless it is included at the same time as we define the 639-2 code. We have discussed this issue thoroughly in the past and there is no reason to revisit it. People just MUST get used to changing their systems to be able to use 3-character language codes. Otherwise there will be little stability in databases that use language codes.
I'd be happy to cite discussion from the minutes of our meetings where this decision was made if anyone needs to be reminded.
I would normally write the person back and say this when the request initially comes in telling them our policy. I must have been rushing and not read this one thoroughly before I forwarded to Havard. So I don't see any need to discuss it.