While I am mostly of one mind with Peter, I am attaching three additional 
comments that support the request for a separate code element for 
Valencian, that do have something to add to the discussion. These were 
received just at the deadline, and I did not have opportunity to get them 
posted, as I have been traveling.

Also, I have never considered the comment phase a sort of "vote" in that 
the side with the most comments "wins." I think that the posted 
description of the review process does not make any promise that the 
majority opinion will determine the outcome. Comments are valuable when 
they add useful data and perspective to the request, and I take them as 
such. I received 11 copies of one "form letter" from supporters of the 
request (with different institional affiliations, as far as I can tell), 
but only read it once (though I responded to all). All comments whether 
making cogent arguments or simply expressing opinions and desires already 
expressed are received and retained. So it is up to us to make the 


The commenter in cm30 is not up to date on the Occitan situation, but 
other examples he cites do give some precedent.

Peter Constable <[log in to unmask]> 
Sent by: ISO 639 Joint Advisory Committee <[log in to unmask]>
2007-07-10 01:07 PM
Please respond to
ISO 639 Joint Advisory Committee <[log in to unmask]>

[log in to unmask]


Thanks for the report, Joan.
Of all the changes, clearly the split of Valencian from Catalan is the 
most significant and most controversial. IMO, we should remain very 
cautious regarding this proposed change. Clearly, this is a political 
issue, and we need to be careful that we not become engaged in more than 
we should.
While 22 of the 28 comments were in support of the change, 13 of them come 
from members of one institution, the Polytechnical University of 
Valencia,. These are teachers of engineering, mathematics, physics, 
chemistry… they are providing personal opinions, not expert linguistic or 
sociolinguistic analysis. Not that all the comments against were from 
people with linguistic or socilinguistic expertise; we just need to be 
careful not to be led by sheer numbers alone. What we *don’t* have is 
comments from linguistic experts that don’t have an emotional or political 
vested interest.
Looking at the comments, I am strongly swayed by the following:
- The analysis of the Spanish Supreme Court, which comes out against 
claims that Valencian is a distinct language.
- The analysis of l’Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua, cited in the 
Supreme Court document, which states that Valencian, Catalan and Balear 
are one language:
The agreement of the Valencian Academy of the Language of 9 of February of 
2005 is specially significant, by that it is approved the opinion on the 
principles and criteria for the defense of the denomination and the 
organization of the Valencian. In this opinion one affirms that own and 
historical the language of the Valencians, from the point of view of the 
philology, is also the one that they share the Independent Communities of 
Catalonia and the Balearic Islands and the Principality of Andorra, and 
that the different ones you speak of all these territories constitute a 
language, a same linguistic system; one also says that to share a language 
it does not imply that the Valencians do not have own signs of identity 
and characteristics, and that perceive them like clearly differentiated 
from those of other towns that use that same language; and that is a fact 
that in Spain are two equally legal denominations to designate this 
language: Valencian the one of and the one of Catalan.
(Translation courtesy of WorldLingo.)
If we need a basis to reject the request while claiming to remain 
apolitical, we could cite the Supreme Court document, which appears to 
reflect a greater degree of analysis than we could provide, and is the *
one* commentary we have received that appears to evaluate without a priori 
There are two arguments made by those supporting the request that I’d like 
to comment on:
-          ‘To our surprise , what used to be a a historical golden 
language (Valenciano) has now become a “dialect”. And what used to be a 
dialect ( Barceloni/Catalan) has now become a “language”…’ (Teresa Puerto 
Ferre -- #21)
Our position should be that ISO 639 does *not* claim Valencian is a 
dialect of or has lower status than Catalan. Rather, ISO 639 considers 
“Valencian” and “Catalan” to be alternate names for one language and codes 
these names with a common identifier.
-          “Not possessing an ISO code for the Valencian language puts 
hurdles for the execution of major linguistic and IT projects, some of 
them already in progress and others to be tackled in the near future.” 
(Juli Amadeu Àrias i Burdeos -- #27)
It should be noted that no specific requirement for a separate identifier 
for linguistic or IT projects has been in any way demonstrated. (IMO, we 
should require such evidence before accepting this request.) It should 
further be noted that in protocols that support IETF Language Tags, the 
tag “ca-valencia” is provided to declare content as “Valencian”, as 
opposed to “Catalan”.