[sword-devel] 3-letter language character codes

DM Smith dmsmith at crosswire.org
Mon Nov 9 12:01:58 MST 2009

Here is a list of the proposed changes for the last update of 2009  
(review ends December 15, so I think we can expect a new listing  
shortly after that):
The last column gives the reason for the request.

Perhaps of interest are some Iranian languages.

In His Service,

On Nov 9, 2009, at 1:32 PM, DM Smith wrote:

> On 11/09/2009 11:51 AM, Karl Kleinpaste wrote:
>> DM Smith<dmsmith at crosswire.org>  writes:
>>> ISO-639-3 is a changing set of codes.
>> ...
>>> These all changed on 2009-01-16.
>> What is the point of "standardized" abbreviations if the "standard"  
>> is
>> not fixed?  "ckw" is replaced with "cak", "tzz" with "tzo"?  For  
>> whose
>> benefit is that, other than as a make-work issue for people like us?
> I don't know all the history, and what I know may be a bit faulty.
> There are about 7500 languages. The beginnings of the ISO-639 were  
> in the Ethnologue, started in 1950. ISO-639-1 was adopted in 1988.  
> ISO-639-2 was adopted in 1998 and covered about 400 languages.  
> IS0-639-3 was given to SIL in 2002 and the first adoption of it was  
> published in 2007. So only a few years ago, the list was quite  
> small. At that time, some of our module had Ethnologue codes of the  
> form x-aaa or x-yyy-aaa.
> At this point ISO-639-3 encompasses all 2 and 3 letter codes. It is  
> actively maintained and updates happen at least once a year.
> Much of the effort to define languages resolves around literacy and  
> Bible translation. It is widely held that the return of Christ is  
> predicated on the gospel being preached to every tongue and there is  
> an effort to get the Bible into every spoken language. Many  
> languages have no alphabet. My daughter and her husband spent the  
> summer finalizing the alphabets for 3 closely related languages. At  
> this point they, and the team that they were on, believe that these  
> are 3 distinct languages and not merely dialects of each other. As  
> such, they would have three different codes and language names. If  
> later, these were found to be merely dialectical different, the 3  
> alphabets might be merged into one and the 3 different codes and  
> their names would be replaced with one name.
> If you look at the reasons for retiral, many of them were 'M', that  
> is merging several codes into one code.
> On a similar note, the two letter codes are not stable either.  
> Hebrew used to have the code 'iw' now it has the code of 'he'.  
> Likewise for Indonesian, it use to have the code 'in', but now it is  
> 'id'. Now with the latest CDRL, 'in' is an alias for 'id'.
> These two have bitten me as Java silently transforms the current  
> code to the obsolete one. 'iw', Hebrew, bit me a few years back.  
> Indonesian, 'in', was last week as Tonny supplied an Indonesian  
> translation for JSword. We had to name the resource files with the  
> obsolete name to get it to work.
> In Him,
>    DM
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