Arsa John Clews:

> ...
> In formal terms 2-letter codes are basically the province of
> ISO/TC37, ISO/TC37/SC2 and ISO/TC37/SC2/WG1, and the ISO 639
> Maintenance Agency, and its not clear how much ISO/TC37, ISO/TC37/SC2
> and ISO/TC37/SC2/WG1 have delegated to the ISO 639 Joint Advisory
> Committee.
> ...
> John Clews

All of the above, plus the LOC/TC 46 groups formally responsible for ISO 639-2
requests have in practice, ceded/delegated all code-assigning decisions to the
ISO 639 JAC, which is probably the best way to achieve harmonization between
the two parts of ISO 639, and at the same time achieve maximum transparency
with regard to the actual processing of requests for codes needed.

My recommendation, as an Observer, is that ISO 639 JAC adopt the simple
protocol (standard in many EU-run systems), whereby applicants for [whatever]
are issued a numbered checklist of requirements, which list is returned to
them after their applications have been duly processed in line with published
protocols, with an X marking the specific point(s) on which they failed to

I recommend all applicants for new ISO 639 JAC two- and/or  three-letter codes
be personally issued precisely such responses, beginning with the Friulians,
that is, I recommend that Dr. Giorgio Cadorini of the Osservatori Regjonal de
Lenghe e de Culture Furlanis (OLF) in Italy to be sent a standard letter,
which will serve as a model to be used for all subsequent requesters.

I attach a sample ISO 639-2 response (a straight dump of page
<> with numbers added),
to which one only need add, for the information of applicants, an X against
whichever of the 5 points listed their proposal failed to satisfy, and the
date on which the JAC took the relevant decison.

Criteria for ISO 639-2

   The following criteria for defining new languages in ISO 639-2 has been
established by the ISO 639 Joint Advisory Committee.
   It is published in ISO 639-2, sections 4.1.1, 4.1.3, and A.2.1 and
supplemented by resolutions made by the Joint Advisory

          1. Number of documents.
          The request for a new language code shall include evidence that one
agency holds 50 different documents in the language
          or that five agencies hold a total of 50 different documents among
them in the language. Documents include all forms of
          material and is not limited to text.
          2. Collective codes.
          If the criteria above are not met the language may be assigned a new
or existing collective language code. The words
          languages or other as part of a language name indicates that a
language code is a collective one.
          3. Scripts.
          A single language code is normally provided for a language even
though the language is written in more than one script.
          ISO DIS 15924 Codes for the representation of names of scripts is
under development by ISO/TC46/SC2.
          4. Dialects.
          A dialect of a language is usually represented by the same language
code as that used for the language. If the language is
          assigned to a collective language code, the dialect is assigned to
the same collective language code. The difference
          between dialects and languages will be decided on a case-by-case
          5. Orthography.
          A language using more than one orthography is not given multiple
language codes.

Marion Gunn
Everson Gunn Teoranta