ISO 639-3 indicates that changes that narrow the meaning of an ID shouldn't happen, so we should *really* try to avoid that. The existing ID grc has been available for years to tag content in either Ancient or Medieval Greek. It would create problems for users if we suddenly change it to not apply to Greek texts from the Medieval period. And it would definitely make us look bad in the eyes of certain user communities that expect us to live up to our stability promises.

There is another issue regarding time-depth variations that is slightly different, but perhaps relates: If there is only one ID for (e.g.) Czech today, what happens if some decides they need a distinct ID for some historic Czech variety in the future? Do we assume that the existing ID is for the modern variety only, or do we consider it to cover all time-depth varieties? And if the latter, does that mean that we need to introduce macrolanguage-mappings any time IDs for historic varieties are added for a language where one didn't exist before? Or can we treat the existing ID as ambiguous - i.e. covering the modern and historic varieties - without introducing a macrolanguage mapping? We may want to evaluate the general issues related to adding IDs for time-depth variants before deciding on this one.

In this case, I think there are three options:

1.       Add an ID for Medieval Greek; change the meaning of grc to exclude Medieval Greek.

2.       Add an ID for Medieval Greek and (optionally now, or in the future as requested) one or more IDs for other historic Greek varieties. The existing ID grc encompasses all historic Greek texts up to the fall of the Byzantine empire, but no macrolanguage mapping is added; grc gets scope of "collection".

3.       Add an ID for Medieval Greek and (optionally now, or in the future as requested) one or more IDs for other historic Greek varieties. The existing ID grc encompasses all historic Greek texts up to the fall of the Byzantine empire, and macrolanguage mappings are added to the individual pre-modern Greeks; grc gets scope of "macrolanguage".

I think option 1 is the least desirable, for reasons mentioned above.


From: ISO 639 Joint Advisory Committee [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Joan Spanne
Sent: Tuesday, July 24, 2007 8:08 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: First round of changes for ISO 639-3 review period over

I think for 2006-084, this affects [grc] Ancient Greek, but does not really affect [ell/gre], unless you want to do something other than use the precise date, 1453, associated with the end of Byzantine Empire. The naming for the new code element can be adjusted according to whatever decisions are made for the trio.

I considered this request a long time before I decided to let it go through as is, though it certainly implies a narrowing of meaning for Ancient Greek. I doubted the retirement of [grc] would please anyone, and I do not think "historical macrolanguages" are an appropriate solution. It is one of the few requests that elicited any comment at all, and that was supportive (with the preferred name Medieval Greek). I decided this is a question for the JAC, not just for me. It was among the group of requests that I pointed out would be of interest to the JAC at the beginning of the review period. This certainly requires more discussion.

With regard to Katso and Kaduo, CR 2006-127, the requester addressed this matter in the change request documentation to my and the Ethnologue staff's satisfaction. We exchanged a number of emails about this. We determined it made more sense to propose the new code element rather than split Kaduo, due to the considerable confusion over location and population data reported in the past for Kaduo, and erroneously making a closer association between the two that was warranted (Kaduo is spoken in China, as well as Laos, but Kaduo and Katso and spoken in different locations in Yunnan Province, and are not closely related).


Milicent K Wewerka <[log in to unmask]>
Sent by: ISO 639 Joint Advisory Committee <[log in to unmask]>

2007-07-23 12:32 PM
Please respond to
ISO 639 Joint Advisory Committee <[log in to unmask]>


[log in to unmask]



Re: First round of changes for ISO 639-3 review period over

I have two comments on the changes to ISO639-3 as proposed in your document.

Request 2006-084 for a new code element for Medieval Greek (gkm):  Adopting this addition will make it necessary to revised the captions for identifiers grc and ell/gre.  Those identifiers are part of ISO 639-2.

Request 2006-127 for a new code element for Katso (kaf):  This may be the same language as Kaduo (ktp).

Milicent Wewerka, Library of Congress

>>> Joan Spanne <[log in to unmask]> 07/09/07 5:54 PM >>>
Hello All,

The first round of change requests for ISO 639-3 underwent review from
April 1 - June 30. As expected, not many received any comments, though the
Valencian request received 43 comments alone (5 other change requests
received one comment each), about 1/4 opposed and 4/5 in favor (including
a form letter sent in by 9 people).

I am attaching a document that is my report on the changes, with summaries
and recommendations. Three code elements affected are in both Part 2 and
Part 3. The changes to these are summarized first in the report. The rest
of the report contains summaries of all other changes (those affecting
only Part 3).

Obviously action on the three code elements in both parts will require
agreement of the JAC. In addition, though, I would appreciate a review of
the other proposed changes, as it is just possible that one or more of
them might have some effect on Part 2 that I had not foreseen.

To see the actual change request documentation, use this pattern for the
where the parameter at the end is the change request number.

In order to minimize delay in posting the results of the requests (at
least for those only pertaining to part 3), I would appreciate a response
by July 18th, if possible. Debate on the Valencian - Catalan matter may
take longer, of course. For more on that matter, please see my message
dated 13 Apr 2007.


Joan Spanne
ISO 639-3/RA
SIL International
7500 W Camp Wisdom Rd
Dallas, TX 75236
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