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.
On Wed, 9 Nov 2005, Milicent K Wewerka wrote:
> Doesn't adding this to 639-1 cause problems with automated systems?
> I thought the instructions were to use 639-1 if possible but to use
> 639-2 if there was no alpha-2 identifier. Databases will currently
> have records with "pau" since there was no 639-1 identifier. If we
> now add an identifier to 639-1 what happens to all those
> documents/records that used the alpha-3 identifier?
> By the way, this is going to be an issue after 639-3 is formally
> approved also. Although there won't be the conflict between the
> number of letters in the identifier, there will probably be requests
> to add identifiers to 639-2 that appear already in 639-3.
> Milicent Wewerka, Library of Congress
> >>> [log in to unmask] 11/09/05 6:51 AM >>>
> Dear JAC members,
> The request below is actually for adding an alpha-2 identifier (ISO 639-1) to an item which already has an alpha-3 identifier in ISO 639-2. The Malayo-Polynesian language Palauan has had the identifier pau since publication of ISO 639-2 in 1998.
> The reason for requesting an alpha-2 identifier is that the language has official status in Palau.
> The requested alpha-2 identifier (pu) is available.
> Discussion please (until 2005-12-02).
> Best regards,
> Håvard Hjulstad
> (secretary ISO 639 RA-JAC)
> ********** Submission: ***********
> This data was submitted on: Thursday, September 29, 2005 at 10:55:03
> lang_in_eng = Palauan
> lang_in_fre = palau
> ref_where_found_1 = ISO 639-2
> lang_in_vern = Belauan
> ref_where_found_2 =
> trans_lit =
> evidence = As this language is already in ISO 639-2, it is clear that there is sufficient evidence to introduce it in ISO 639-1, which is necessary because it has an official status in Palau (see Ethnologue for example)
> addinfo = See ethnologue foe example
> request_addition = ISO 639-1 and ISO 639-2
> 2_code_suggestion = pu
> 3_code_suggestion = pau
> submit_name = Lang gérard
> submit_email = [log in to unmask]
> submit_status = Convenor of ISo/TC 46/WG 2