John, I can make a comment from OCLC's perspective. I did a quick search
for notes containing the language name "Kingwana." That produced 9 results
as compared with a total of 4371 coded 'swa'. Seven of the nine are various
translations of portions of the Bible into Kingwana and published by the
British and Foreign Bible Society. One is a sound recording of songs sung in
Kingwana cataloged by the Library of Congress. All of those are coded as
'swa' in accord with the MARC 21 code list.
The other item is a "Manuel de Kingwana" written in the 1920s by a couple of
missionaries. It contains, according to the summary note, French and
English grammar notes, conversations in French, English and Kingwana, and
French/English/Kingwana, French/Kingwana, and English/Kingwana vocabularies.
This record was incorrectly coded as 'nic' (Niger-Kordofanian (Other)) but
I've fixed it.
From: John Clews [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Monday, February 26, 2001 9:25 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [ISOJAC] Kingwana
Dear Milicent (via the JAC list)
As you deal with laguage codes on a day to day basis in LC, could you
give your impressions, and also any others in the Africa section at
the Library of Congress, about the following?
Kingwana is described in some sources as a dialect of Swahili, and is an
official language in Democratic Congo (formerly Zaire), in colonial
times under Belgian administration. Swahili is an official language
in various countries in the former British East Africa.
Given the large areas involved, and the probable lack of contact
between the Belgian Congo/Zaire/Democratic Congo and the former
British East Africa, do you think it is likely that the degree of
mutual incomprehensibility is quite high?
Obvious comparisons are Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian, and
Malay/Indonesian, which probably have greater mutual intelligibility
than do Kingwana in Democratic Congo and Swahili in East Africa.
(a) do cataloguers at LC (and elsewhere) use the code for Swahili
when cataloguing any materials in Kingwana?
(b) do you and they think it would be useful for a separate code for
Kingwana to be added to the MARC 21 codes, and to ISO 639-2?
(c) What do you think are the implications for libraries of either
(i) adding a separate code, or
(ii) not adding a separate code?
Obviously the normal criteria (50 documents etc) would need to be a
hurdle to overcome in following the normal channels, but I'm just
raising the question and seeking comments before taking any further
I look forward to hearing from you and any other JAC members, and any
LC staff, on this issue.
John Clews, SESAME Computer Projects, 8 Avenue Rd, Harrogate, HG2 7PG
tel: +44 1423 888 432; fax: + 44 1423 889061;
Email: [log in to unmask]
Committee Chair of ISO/TC46/SC2: Conversion of Written Languages;
Committee Member of ISO/IEC/JTC1/SC22/WG20: Internationalization;
Committee Member of ISO/TC37: Terminology