Dear Colleagues,


we will have to deal with the official request of ISO/TC 46 concerning 2-
and 3-letter symbols for 11 languages. Before starting the process I would
like to suggest that we clarify 2 issues:


(1) concerning ISO 639-1:2002 clause A.3.4 “Reservation of identifiers":

"When a request for inclusion of a new entity has been rejected, ISO
639-1/RA may reserve the requested identifier for the use of the applicant
and others possible users. ISO 639-1 will keep a record of such reservations
and will inform the ISO 639-2/RA of such." 

In this connection I would like to ask

a) Håvard whether he has a record on such reservations (because such cases
were long in the past),

b) all of you, whether we have considered this clause in our discussions
after the problem with the reuse of an outdated country symbol to another
country by ISO 3166/MA – in fact, whether this clause is still necessary or
will need rewording in future ISO 639.


(2) concerning the assignment of language symbols based on mnemotechnic
principles (whether based on the English name of a language or the original
name of it):

In this connection I would like to ask you to consider a slight modification
of the rules – or rather our practice to apply the rules –:

a) we will run for sure into more problematic cases the more language names
are coded, and our argument that the language symbol is merely a code and
not an abbreviation is weak.

(in this connection the alignment with country names is probably not really
helpful either)

b) our colleague Marion Kresse suggested to select new language symbols from
a table showing available letter combinations (as we do) – but choosing the
second and/or third letter in such a way that they do not look too much like
an abbreviation of the language name in question. In several cases we had to
do this anyhow – either due to the lack of letter combinations to choose for
the language symbol or because of two or more different languages had
similar names. 

c) we had internally agreed to reserve as much as possible the letters x, y
and z for difficult cases in the future (see for instance airport codes,
such as YMX for Montreal International or YND for Ottawa or XRH for Richmond
in AUS /=Australia, not AUT=Austria/ - similar problems in different coding


Best regards




-----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
Von: Gérard Lang-Marconnet [ <mailto:[log in to unmask]>
mailto:[log in to unmask]] 
Gesendet: Mittwoch, 26. Juni 2013 12:10
An: Galinski Christian; Zagas John; ISO639-3 Melinda; Constable Peter; Drude
Sebastian; Kresse Maren; Hakala Juha; Porteneuve Elisabeth; Demay François;
Patton Glenn; Le Feuvre Pierrick; Lang Gérard; Ferres Mercé; Pelaprat
Mary-Lou; Warburton Kara; Warburton Kara 2; Pelle Françoise
Betreff: Request from the ISO/TC 46 to the ISO 639/RA-JAC for the creation
of 11 alpha-2 ISO 639-1 code elements concerning the name of administrative


Dear All,

In my capacity of liaison officer from ISO/TC 46 to ISO/TC 37, let me inform
you that during the plenary session of its 2013 annual meeting in Paris,
ISO/TC 46 (Information and Documentation) adopted on Friday 2013-06-07 the
following resolution 2013-01:

ISO/TC 46 asks the Joint Advisory Committee on Registration authorities for
ISO 639 "Codes for the representation of names of languages" to consider
attributing alpha-2 code elements for the languages listed in Document N490,
that are administrative languages for ISO 3166-1 countries and need to be
referenced to in ISO 3166 "Codes for the representation of names of
countries and their subdivisions".


The corresponding list of the 11 alpha-2 ISO 639-1 requested code elements,
as proposed by the ISO 3166/MA, follows. Each line gives the
proposed/requested alpha-2 code element, the name of the language to be
represented (in english and in french), the corresponding alpha-3 ISO 639-2
(or ISO 639-3, if necessary, followed by *) corresponding code element and
(the list of) the alpha-2 ISO 3166-1 code element(s) representing the
interessed country.


1/ cm; Shikomor/ comorien; ---; KM;

2/ gi; Gilbertese/ kiribati; gil; KI

3/ me; Montenegrin /monténegrin;---; ,ME; 4/ ni; Niuean/ niué; niu; NU; 5/
ns; Soto, Northern/ sotho du nord; nso; ZA; (Remark: among the
11administrative languages of South Afrika, whose names all have an alpha-3
ISO 639-2 code element this is the only one case  

not to have an alpha-2 ISO 639-1 code element) 6/ pp; Papiamento/
papiamento; pap; BQ, CW; 7/ pw; Paluan/ palau; pau; PW; 8/ sy; Seselwa
Creole French/ seychellois; crs*; SC;

9: tm; Tetum/ tetum; tet; TL;

10/ tp; Tok pisin/ tok pisin; tpi; PG;

11: tv; Tuvalu/ tuvalu; tvl; TV



In the case that some of these 11 requested code elements would not be
accepted, ISO/TC 46 would, as I explained at the ISO 639/RA-JAC meeting in
Paris on 2013-06-04, ask for the application of the normative clause" A.3.4
Reservation of identifiers" of ISO 639-1:2002 (further consolidated in
clause A.5 of ISO 639-4:2010), that writes;

"When a request for inclusion of a new entity has been rejected, ISO
639-1/RA may reserve the requested identifier for the use of the applicant
and others possible users. ISO 639-1 will keep a record of such reservations
and will inform the ISO 639-2/RA of such.",

so as to be able to use all 11 requested code elements for ISO 3166.


We would like the ISO 639/RA-JAC to consider these requests as soon as
possible, because the votes on the three parts of the new edition 2013 of
ISO 3166 closed very recently on 2013-06-19 with positive results (for
example ISO 3166-1:2013 was unanimously approved, with 29 yes and 6
abstentions on 35 voting P-members), so that it would be nice to be able to
insert the requested code elements in the publication of the new edition of
ISO 3166.


Bien amicalement.

Gérard Lang=