it shows that the criteria for selecting languages for coding and for the coding methodology itself need to be updated and refined.
Comorian (Shikomori or Shimasiwa, the "language of islands") … is a set of Sabaki dialects (=Bantu languages of the Central East African coast, incl. Swahili) but with more Arabic influence than standard Swahili. Each island has a different dialect and the four are conventionally divided into two groups…
It is coded in 639-3 under:
(in 639-2 it would fall under bnt = Bantu other)
I am not in favour of including Shikomori for the time being, because it definitely needs to be further investigated. Besides, it would have an impact on the scope of a series of other language symbols.
In some past discussions of proposals, I have done searching in OCLC’s WorldCat database to see what support it may offer. So, this afternoon, I searched “shikomor” and “comorien” in notes fields (5XX fields in MARC 21) in bibliographic records. It is in these fields that catalogers would traditionally clarify information about the language of the resource being described (especially in cases in which current language codes do not directly cover the situation).
“Shikomor” returned no search results. “Comoriem” returned 104 matches. I did a quick pass through those results, the majority of which involved the use of “comorien” as an adjective referring to the country. By my rough count, there were 20 cases in which the resources being described were a dictionary or a grammar or other resources with “texte en français et comorien”, including a children’s ABCs book.
Most of the records were created either the Bibliothèque nationale de France or by French university libraries which participate in the ABES consortium. Obviously, I can’t speak to the accuracy of the bibliographic descriptions since I have no access to the materials themselves.
Glenn E. Patton
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I’m not in favour of encoding “Shikomor” in any part of ISO 639.
This term refers to a fictional language of convenience: Comoros refers to it in their constitution as though it were a language, but in reality there is not a single Comorian language. This is a bit like Filipino, a desire by the government to have a single unifying language, except that in the case of Filipino there actually was some progress and some measure of success in engineering a unifying language. From what I understand, that has not at all happened in Comoros.
That means, for instance, that there will not be any documents, Web pages or other kinds of content that need to be described as being in “Shikomor”. Even the government that asserts a “Shikomor” language does not appear to publish anything claiming to be in “Shikomor”.
To encode in any part, it would need to qualify for inclusion in 639-3, the part that has is the most comprehensive. Even there, I don’t see a need to encode. But even if it were decided that there were some value in encoding the notion “Shikomor” in 639-3, I don’t think it would qualify for inclusion in 639-2 due to lack of documents. Also, I would not support encoding in 639-1 under any condition as there is no benefit to be gained, but costs to be incurred by many.
Gérard’s interest appears to be to fill in a table in ISO 3166 pertaining to administrative languages. I think this is a good example of why it is a bad idea for ISO 3166 to have included such a table in the first place – which the JAC advised TC46 against doing in DIS ballot comments.
Dear JAC colleagues,
I recently received a request from Gérard Lang (see below) proposing that a code be created in ISO 639-1 and ISO 639-2 for the language, "Shikomor". I submit this request to the JAC for review and discussion. I should note that though the request is for creating the code in both Parts 1 and 2 (new language codes cannot be defined in Part 1 without a Part 2 counterpart), the requester's primary objective is to have the code defined in ISO 639-1. As there have recently been long discussions on the ISOJAC Listserv concerning the advisability of creating new codes in ISO 639-1, the discussion for this request will be limited to a brief time span (a week to ten days at the most). I look forward to your comments.
>> Request for new ISO language code.
>> English name of Language: Shikomor
>> French name of Language: Comorien
>> Vernacular name of Language: Shikomor
>> Evidence: All federal laws of Comoros
>> All local laws in each of the three federated islands Treaties with other countries
>> National Evidence: Government of Comoros
>> Size Evidence: national literature
>> Official Evidence: National language by article 1 of the Constitution
>> Education Evidence: In the three federated islands of Comoros
>> Additional Info: 500 000
>> ISO 639-2 only :
>> ISO 639-2 and ISO 639-1 : yes
>> three_code_suggestion : coi
>> two_code_suggestion : cm
>> Submitter's name: Gérard LANG
>> Submitter's email : [log in to unmask]
>> Submitter's status : Liaison officer from ISO/TC 46 to ISO/TC 37