I received this question from the person who requested Montenegrin, and I
thought others may be interested in my response.
It seems that we should probably have an official ballot conducted on this
Note that I now have documented deprecating "sh" on the 639-2 change
notice. I gave the date as Feb. 2000, because that is the first time that
we said we wanted to deprecate it. It is in the meeting notes from that
first JAC meeting at the Library of Congress. Let me know if the wording
of the note sounds alright.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 27 Nov 2007 10:23:09 -0500 (EST)
From: Rebecca S. Guenther <[log in to unmask]>
To: "[iso-8859-1] Lang Gérard" <[log in to unmask]>
Cc: [log in to unmask], [log in to unmask]
Subject: RE: Proposition for coding a new language name "Montenegrin"
inside ISO 639-1 "me" (and deprecation of "sh" Serbo-Croatian) and ISO
The ISO 639 Joint Advisory Committee has debated the issues concerning
your request because they are quite complex. We do not want to rush into a
decision. It is not clear whether Montenegrin should be considered a
dialect of Serbian or whether it is linguistically distinct. There are
various factors to be considered, not only whether the country declares it
to be an "official language". At this point, we will probably take a wait
and see approach. How the language develops will be important. If the
Montenegrin government supports language-standardization activities that
lead to the standard written form of Montenegrin diverging from Serbian,
then there may be a linguistic basis for treating these as distinct. It
would be useful to get information about such things and if you find
additional information, please send it along. I will say that we have not
had an official ballot to confirm this decision, but that seems to be the
way we are leaning. So we should probably proceed to a more formal
As for the "sh" code, it already is deprecated. However, it had not been
documented on the ISO 639-2 change notice until now. I realize that
there has been some confusion about this, but the ISO 639 JAC discussed it
not too long ago and upheld the decision to deprecate it. Serbo-Croatian
is defined in ISO 639-3 with the identifier "hbs" and is considered a
macrolanguage comprising Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian.
See the new information in the change notice (near the bottom) at:
^^ Rebecca S. Guenther ^^
^^ Chair, ISO 639-2 Maintenance Agency ^^
^^ Senior Networking and Standards Specialist ^^
^^ Library of Congress ^^
^^ Washington, DC 20540-4402 ^^
^^ (202) 707-5092 (voice) (202) 707-0115 (FAX) ^^
^^ [log in to unmask] ^^
On Mon, 26 Nov 2007, [iso-8859-1] Lang Gérard wrote:
> Dear Rebecca,
> Dear Havard,
> Could you tell me what is the situation concerning my proposition for "Montenegrin", and for the deprecation of "sh" inside ISO 639-1 ?
> You can find a comment about the new Constitution of Montenegro, in force from 22/10/2007 on Wikipedia ("Constitution of Montenegro").
> Bien cordialement.
> Gérard LANg
> -----Message d'origine-----
> De : Lang Gérard
> Envoyé : mercredi 7 novembre 2007 16:46
> À : Lang Gérard; 'Rebecca S. Guenther'
> Cc : 'Håvard Hjulstad'; [log in to unmask]
> Objet : RE: Proposition for coding a new language name "Montenegrin" inside ISO 639-1 "me" (and deprecation of "sh" Serbo-Croatian) and ISO 639-2 "mno"
> The new Constitution of Montenegro was officially proclaimed on 22 october 2007, to replace the old 1992 Constitution.
> Bien cordialement.
> Gérard LANG