[sword-devel] language/locale codes

Chris Little chrislit at crosswire.org
Wed Nov 11 21:05:34 MST 2009

Other things to consider:

1) If a module in a new language is released, should that module be 
tagged as beta or tagged as requiring the next release of Sword until 
the next release of Sword comes?

E.g., let's suppose Sword 1.6.1 is the current version and includes a 
unified facility for getting language names from language codes, but 
ships with only those codes that are in use at the time 1.6.1 is 
released. (Also suppose there is no facility for updating the code 
lists.) If we release a new Bible in Mongolian, is it more desirable to 
hold off release of the module (put it in beta) until 1.6.2 is released 
or to release the module but have it be listed by its code (or as 

2) Should ancient, historic, & extinct languages ever be listed in their 
own language? It makes complete sense to identify cy (Welsh) as Cymraeg 
or et (Estonian) as Eesti because the users of content in those 
languages are most likely familiar with those names.

Users of ancient languages like (ancient) Greek & Hebrew, Latin, Coptic, 
Gothic, Sumerian, Akkadian, & Hittite (those that I can think of that we 
have content in or soon shall) may not know the native names of those 

In the last year, I've studied Hittite, Luwian, Tocharian, Oscan, and 
Umbrian, and I'd say I'm at a fairly average level in each of them, 
among those who have studied them. I know their names in English and 
German--because those are typical languages of works discussing these 
languages. But I don't have the least clue what any of these languages 
were called by their speakers. For languages like Gothic, Oscan, and 
Umbrian, I wouldn't be surprised to hear of competent users of these 
languages who cannot even read them in their native script, since most 
work is done with transliterated transcriptions.

So does it make sense to never use the native localized versions of 
languages marked as ancient, historic, or extinct (by ISO 639-3)? The 
only issue will be he (Hebrew), used for Biblical Hebrew, but we should 
really update WLC and anything else referencing Biblical Hebrew to use 
the ISO 639-3 code hbo (Ancient Hebrew) instead.


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