The recent history of “car”:


On 2006-11-3, in a message with the subject “639 issues: clarify denotation as individual language (arc, bin, car, ewo, lua, sah, bo/bod/tib)”, I proposed a name change:


c) ID = car, “Carib” (ItoR section 6.5). The name “Carib” is used for three separate languages as well as a language phylum. MARC mentions one particular language by name, Galibi.


Recommendation: equate car with Galibi Carib; change name to “Galibi Carib”.


Action needed if recommendation accepted: change name on 639-2 / -3 web sites.


There were no objections to this item. (Milicent Wewerka made comments on Aramaic and Tibetan, also discussed in that message.) On 2006-11-22, wrote concluding that there was consensus to make the change to “car”.  On 2006-11-26, LOC published that change.


On 2006-11-28, Rebecca wrote mentioning that and other changes. In a followup mail the same day, she asked for a French form for Galibi Carib (as well as for other items). On 2006-11-29, Anila Angjeli replied with this information:


Galibi Carib                = French : *karib; galibi; carib*  

The French forms were revised to those values on the 639-2 site.


On 2007-1-5, Havard wrote asking if the change to the French forms was correct. Several other topics were being discussed that week, and I don’t have any record that there was ever a reply to Havard’s question.


On 2007-9-6, Joan wrote to the JAC list mentioning a discrepancy between 639-2/-3 versus the draft table in the FDIS for Part 5 in relation to “car”. I can’t find a copy of that, so can’t confirm whether it got distributed on the list on that date. (She wrote a follow-up mail on 2008-11-11 that contains the earlier message.


On 2008-6-9, I wrote mentioning the discrepancy between 639-2/-3 and 639-5, suggesting that the “car” entry be removed from 639-5. Debbie and Joan replied supporting that recommendation.


On 2008-8-6, Joan wrote about three issues to be fixed in the Part 5 table before it got published by LOC, “car” being one of them. Rebecca replied on that particular item, “Yes, it should be removed or a different one added for the group of Carib languages (also called Cariban languages).”


On 2008-11-11, Havard wrote saying he had noted the discrepancy between -5 and -2, and asking how it should be resolved. I replied on 2008-11-13 indicating that “car” should be removed from -5, giving reference to the decision and change made in November 2006.


With all that in mind, I have the following conclusions:


·         We had a consensus in Nov 2006 to treat “car” as meaning specifically Galibi Carib – an individual language. Therefore, it is out of scope for 639-5, and should be removed from the -5 code table.

·         I think it’s reasonable for you to request confirmation that the French names listed on the 639-2 site for “car” are correct: the denotation should be specifically, and only, Galibi Carib, as per our Nov 2006 consensus.

·         I think the current English name for “car”, “Galibi Carib”, is appropriate and acceptable, and should not be changed.

·         If, given the correction to remove “car” from -5, there is no entry for “Cariban languages” (or “Carib languages”) in -5, then I think it would be reasonable for one to be added.





From: ISO 639 Joint Advisory Committee [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Håvard Hjulstad
Sent: Friday, November 28, 2008 12:03 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: ISO 639 - "car" once more


Dear JAC members,


I am still not entirely “unconfused” when it comes to the item car. Help please …


The ISO 639-3 and the ISO 639-2 web sites both have Galibi Carib as the English name. But the French names that are registered, are karib; galibi; carib. In my simple mind this doesn’t fit together.


The English Wikipedia starts the article on Carib language with: “Carib, also known as Caribe, Cariña, Galibi, Galibí, Kali'na, Kalihna, Kalinya, Galibi Carib, Maraworno and Marworno, is …”, while the French Wikipedia states “Le kali'na (anciennement appelé galibi) est une langue amérindienne appartenant à la grande famille des langues caraïbes (ou caribes).” You may also wish to take a look at


It seems to me that we need an ISO 639-5 identifier for “Cariban languages”, of which our car is one. And what would be the most appropriate names (in English and French) attached to car? Would Galibi; Carib (note ;) and galibi; carib; karib be the most appropriate?


Best regards,




Håvard Hjulstad

  Standard Norge / Standards Norway
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