Having read the various comments, I think that the clean-up relates to
- the names
- the scopes
- the distinction of language and dialects...
I see no necessity to change an identifier (of course in the notes to
the change it must be made clear that there was a process of
clarification). We had argued on many occasions that "code consistency"
is not a stringent reason for changing an identifier.
From: ISO 639 Joint Advisory Committee [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf
Of Peter Constable
Sent: Freitag, 17. Dezember 2004 21:14
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: RE: Réf. : Re: Occitan and ISO 639-3 : French linguistics
> From: ISO 639 Joint Advisory Committee [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On
> Behalf Of Anila Angjeli
> I'm proposing some "clean-up" actions regarding occitan...
I have had your message of Sept 21 tagged as needing attention, but
never found time to make it high enough priority. Your message today has
prompted me to act -- my apologies for putting this off.
Just a note: this relates to issue 4.10 in the "Issues to Resolve"
document (with many other open issues needing action by the JAC as soon
The expert input from Patrick Sauzet is very valuable. In my role as
editor for ISO 639-3, I have no particular bias regarding whether or not
to include entries for Auvergnat, etc. In my role as SIL liaison, I have
submitted Patrick's input to the Ethnologue staff and await their
comments. As an individual member of the JAC, I find Patrick's comments
reasonably convincing, but inasmuch as I also sit in the liaison role I
don't feel I can make any decision regarding removal of the six
contested entries in the draft table for ISO 639-3 until I have heard
back from Ethnologue staff.
Regarding the proposed change to names, I have no objection to changing
the name associated with "pro" to "Occitan, Old (to 1500)". The
proposed change of name for "oci" is trickier. (Of course, the proposed
change presumes agreement on removing Auvergnat, etc. from the draft
table for ISO 639-3, which as noted I cannot yet form an opinion on. My
comments that follow will assume this decision has been agreed upon,
IMO, alternate names listed for a given entry should be alternate labels
for the same entity. But I don't think the suggestion here is that
(e.g.) "Auvergnat Occitan" and "Gascon Occitan" are the same thing. I
think it would be confusing and not a good precedent to list names of
distinct dialects as alternate language names. Thus, I would not support
the proposed name change in this case.
Of course, this leaves open the need to clarify the intended meaning of
"oci" and it's relationship to the varieties referred to as "Auvergnat"
etc. This is just an instance of a more general problem in ISO 639,
however: a few names are not always adequate to indicate what the
intended meaning is, and what the expectations on usage are. There
simply are cases where more information is necessary (a point Gary
Simons and I made in a paper back in 2000).
One possibility for ISO 639-3 is that each entry in the code table
points to an entry in the Ethnologue or other sources to provide
background information that would make clear what the intended
denotation is. At a minimum, a "comments" field is needed, and might be
a useful addition for the ISO 639 code tables. If there were a comments
field, then that is where I would indicate for the "oci" ID,
"Encompasses Auvergnat, Gascon, Languedocien, Provençal, Shaudit,
With regard to the proposed change of identifier for Old Provençal / Old
Occitan, I strongly object. Stability of identifiers is far more
important than a mnemonic relationship to preferred language names, or
than having similar identifiers for closely-related languages. If this
were to be changed, we would be subject to a very high level of flak
from several parties.