On Tuesday 28 March 2000, Rebecca Guenther <[log in to unmask]> wrote via
<[log in to unmask]> on the subject: New ISO 639-2 code, re. Low German,

>---------- Forwarded message ----------
>Date: Fri, 24 Mar 2000 16:16:15 -0500
>From: WWW server acct <[log in to unmask]>
>To: [log in to unmask]
>Subject: New ISO 639-2 code
>The UKMARC Bibliographic Format has established code "gml" for
> "German, Low". That UKMARC code is represented in 50 STC-N and
> 43 BL-17th Cen. German MARC records.

As "gml" has been established in that UK library standard, and is in
current use by UK libraries, there seems no reason not to use it, and
I consider that "gml" should therefore be added as an ISO 639-2. This
will avoid the endless conversion between "gem" and/or "gml" and/or
any other code such as "nds" or "ndd" that Michael Everson and Millie
Wewerka have mentioned.

"gml" exists, and will continue to be used, within the UK, even if it
is converted for the benefit of users of the RLIN database: "nds" or
"ndd" do not exist at present.

Note that trying to maintain the use of a "d" from "de" makes the
list less predictable for users, as all existing entries use
"g" from "German":

639-2B   639

ger      de    German
gmh      --    German, Middle High
goh      --    German, Old High (ca. 750-1050)
gem      --    Germanic (Other)
---      --    German, Low; Low German

gml  for Low German is thus much more predictable to users than
nds  or

Note that there would appear to be no automatic requirement for codes
related to "d" or "de" from German users: the largest German list
which collates 2-letter and 3-letter codes in Germany is maintained

        Bernhard Eversberg
        Universitaetsbibliothek, Postf. 3329,
        D-38023 Braunschweig, Germany
        Tel.  +49 531 391-5026 , -5011 , FAX  -5836
        e-mail  [log in to unmask]

This can be found at:

They use temporary 4-letter codes to indicate codes not in ISO 639-2,
and temporary 3-letter codes with an additional "+" sign to represent
codes not in ISO 639.

It's significant that they use codes with abbreviations from English
words rather than codes with abbreviations from German words:

goh      go+   Althochdeutsch  (German, Old High (ca. 750-1050))
gmh      gm+   Mittelhochdeutsch  (German, Middle High (ca. 1050-1500))
mlow     dd+   Mittelniederdeutsch  (Middle Low German)  [Germany]
lowg     dt+   Niederdeutsch  (Lower German)  [Germany]

Therefore there seems to be no reason to allocate codes which use
letters from the ISO 639 "de" element, and I strongly support the use
of "gml" to make it easier for existing users.

Best regards

John Clews

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 CEN/TC304: Information and Communications
 Technologies: European Localization Requirements
Committee Member of TS/1: Terminology (UK national member body of
 ISO/TC37: Terminology)
Committee Member of the Foundation for Endangered Languages;
Committee Member of ISO/IEC/JTC1/SC2: Coded Character Sets