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ISOJAC  August 2013

ISOJAC August 2013

Subject:

Re: draft survey on ISO 639

From:

"Guenther, Rebecca" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

ISO 639 Joint Advisory Committee <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 6 Aug 2013 15:41:30 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (116 lines)

I will just comment on the following paragraph about the development of parts 3, 4, 5 and 6"

"The original agreement between ISO/TC 37 and ISO/TC 46 "only" referred to the 3-letter code of ISO 639-2 (later including to some extent ISO 639-1) and later including ISO 639-3 for scientific and other reasons. The decisions to include ISO 639-1, ISO 639-3, ISO 639-5 and ISO 639-6 into the framework of (a) the ISO 639 Series and (b) the scope of ISO 639/RAs-JAC was taken either by the JAC (and later endorsed by TC 37) or by ISO/TC37/SC 2 to be taken care of by JAC - If I recall well. Please correct, if you have more precise records."

You are right, the original agreement was about ISO 639-2. At its first meeting in 2000 the JAC agreed to take on ISO 639-1 in conjunction with 639-2. Parts 3, 4, 5, and 6 were all projects of TC37 and the JAC involvement was primarily in getting updated on developments. It did not take an active role in any of the development (although perhaps part 3 is an exception, since there were a number of cases where it had to resolve conflicts), but was presented later with various drafts. In fact it was a bit of a surprise that LC was named registration authority for part 5, with which it had little involvement during its development (although it included group languages from part 2, but also a number of others not in part 2). So I think we would say they were projects of TC 37/SC2 with some input from the JAC.

Rebecca

-----Original Message-----
From: ISO 639 Joint Advisory Committee [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Christian Galinski
Sent: Tuesday, August 06, 2013 5:31 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: AW: draft survey on ISO 639

Dear Melinda,
Cher Gérard,

Thank you, Melinda, for starting to move ahead. This survey is really necessary!
In the meantime ISO/TC 37/SC 2 is also doing the follow-ups decided at the Pretoria meetings: (1) clarifying the proper status of each TC 37/SC 2G 1 member (the present member list is outdated), and hereafter (2) approaching TC 46 (or is it rather TC 46/SC 4 corresponding to ISO/TC 37/SC 2? - the umbrella level of the two is the respective TC, if I am correct)

The big difference between ISO 3166 Series and ISO 639 Series is:
(1) ISO 3166 codes within themselves are much more "concrete" and stable (in spite of all kinds of changes over the years); there are "authorities"
watching and tracking those changes; the potential number of entities is growing, but so far the entities are much more concrete than those of the
639 codes.
(2) The potential number of entities to be coded in the ISO 639 Series could become huge; in addition, the semantic entities represented by the 639 codes are much more "volatile" in terms of subtle/radical changes of vocabulary, grammar, status etc. Some of these changes are due to academic research (e.g. language groups, historic levels etc.), but often also subject to specific theories.
In any case the potential for change in an ever increasing number of variations of languages will increase more than linear with the growing number of coded language names.
(3) ISO 639 codes comprise at least 2 major types (e.g. concerning the impact on industry, public administration, education etc.):
(a)ISO 639-1 and ISO 639-2 (ISO 639-3 in the long run to be merged into the 3-letter code) whose codes are considered to be more "standardized" than those of the other 639-parts an need a higher level of control of stability; they show a high complexity concerning questions like, what is differentiating a language from a language variation? how to deal with different types of "official" character of a language, different kinds of language names? how to deal with language status? etc. ; ... issues, for which we expect input from the communities dealing with language documentation.
(b) ISO 639-5 and ISO 639-6 are collections of "entities" most of which are debated in various communities, and where many different "views" have to be taken into account - which means that they are not fit for standardization, but nevertheless represent highly valuable resources to refer to in standardization.
(4) the stakeholder of the two types mentioned above differ largely!

If I am wrong please correct.

The original agreement between ISO/TC 37 and ISO/TC 46 "only" referred to the 3-letter code of ISO 639-2 (later including to some extent ISO 639-1) and later including ISO 639-3 for scientific and other reasons. The decisions to include ISO 639-1, ISO 639-3, ISO 639-5 and ISO 639-6 into the framework of (a) the ISO 639 Series and (b) the scope of ISO 639/RAs-JAC was taken either by the JAC (and later endorsed by TC 37) or by ISO/TC37/SC 2 to be taken care of by JAC - If I recall well. Please correct, if you have more precise records..

To cut a long story short, ISO 639 codings are not fit for being subject to a maintenance agency (MA) for a number of reasons - not least the ISO rules.
That is why several JAC members and ISO/TC 37/SC 2/WG 1 have discussed and preferred a sort of "Joint Registration Authority" .
Old ISO/R 639 was developed in the 1960s (?) and taken up again in the 1980s
- since then several RADICAL changes have taken place:
(1) Globalization (G11N) in the 1990s triggered the need for localization (L10N), whose software platforms and content repositories need /stable/ language codes;
(2) In the 2000s, the field of "language documentation" emerged with a theoretical and methodological basis for "language description" which can help to solve problems in language name coding.

In today's industry the time-honored principle of "quick and dirty"
standards - believe it or not, this was the rule /not exception/ still in the 1990 in technical standardization - does not suffice any longer (especially not in the ICT).
Just think about the beginnings of character coding in the 1990s and the highly formalized and differentiated approach of Unicode today!

To some extent these reflections need to be considered in the survey - your draft is indeed very useful.

Best regards
Christian


-----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
Von: ISO 639 Joint Advisory Committee [mailto:[log in to unmask]] Im Auftrag von Gérard Lang-Marconnet
Gesendet: Montag, 5. August 2013 19:20
An: [log in to unmask]
Betreff: Re: draft survey on ISO 639

Dear Melinda,
Thank you very much.
Let me add that this ISO 639/MA would have , exactly as this is the case of the ISO 3166/MA I m chairing, the task to maintain (create, delete, change, reserve every information contained in) the tables of the alpha-2 and
alpha-3 code elements according to the rules written in the normative text of the future standard ISO 639. In my experience this can only rapidly and efficiently work if the composition of the Maintenance Agency is not too big (at most 10 members) and balanced between every interessed community. So that the current composition of the JAC is a perfect model for this, and also in the interst of continuity and experience I would recommand nine
members:
- one representative of the terminologic community (like Infoterm, to begin with);
- one representative of the library community (like the Library of Congress, to begin with);
- one representative of the linguistic community (like SIL International , to begin with) ;
- three representative of TC 37;
- three representative of TC 46.
Every member having a substitute.
Concerning the list of persons to adress the survey, I would think adequate that every current and past (even substitute) of the ISO 639/RA-JAC be on the list.
Bien amicalement.
Gérard Lang

 
Le 5 août 2013 à 17:43, Melinda Lyons a écrit :

> Dear Gerard,
>
> Thank you for your input. I will add the option of a single
> maintenance
agency as an option for the survey.
>
> Melinda
>
> On 8/3/13 3:50 PM, Gérard Lang-Marconnet wrote:
>> Dear Melinda,
>> Thank you for your message.
>> In my opinion, in the case that the texts of the six standards
>> forming
the current parts (or maybe only the five first parts) of ISO 639 would be united in one single normative text as a revised standard ISO 639, I would find wise to create a unique ISO 639 Maintenance Agency (ISO 639/MA) to replace the four current ISO 639 Registration Authorities (ISO 639/RAs) and the ISO 639/RA-JAC as well. I do not find appropriate to create a single ISO
639 Registration Authority (ISO 639/RA) in this occasion.
>> Bien amicalement.
>> Gérard Lang
>>
>>
>> Le 24 juil. 2013 à 23:48, ISO639-3 a écrit :
>>
>>> Dear Members of the Joint Advisory Committee,
>>>
>>> As many of you know, the TC-37 decided to get input about the
>>> possible
revision of ISO 639 before drafting or proposing a New Work Item. Attached is the survey that has been developed to solicit preliminary input. We expect to send it to no more than 50 people, to receive input on the current standard and processes. If further input is needed, we will formulate a questionnaire as a second step, using input from the survey.
>>>
>>> Please read through the questions, and let me know if there is
>>> something
crucial that should be added before I send it out to a selected list. And if there are any people that should receive the survey, send the names to Bill Rivers, at the address listed.
>>>
>>> Thank you for taking time to read and comment.
>>>
>>> Melinda Lyons
>>> Secretary,
>>> Joint Advisory Committee
>>>
>>>
>>> <Survey on ISO639(v2).doc>

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