ISO / TC 37 / SC 2 / WG 1 N 80




                                                                                             ISO/IEC JTC1 SC32/WG1 N0179R
















Title:                                       Possible Request for Reservation of ISO 639-2 Codes for Languages "ISO English" and "ISO French" (in support of IT-enabled Open-edi including e-commerce, e-business, etc.)


Date:                                      2001-08-03


Source:                                 Dr. Jake V. Th. Knoppers, Project Editor

                                                New ISO/IEC 18038 (and new IEC/IEC 16022)

                                                < >


Status:                                  Expert Contribution


Action ID:                             For review and decision at the SC32/WG1 Piscataway (USA) Meeting, 30 July - 3 August, 2001


Remarks                               At this meeting, JTC1/SC32/WG1 authorized the Project Editor for 18038 to make a such a request for reserved codes.

1.0       SUMMARY


Several 3-alpha codes currently exist for representation of the English and French languages in ISO 639-2.  In addition, ISO 639-2 in Clause 4 - Language codes and its sub-clauses recognize special situations (4.12), local codes (4.1.4) and makes provision for "Registration of new language codes (4.2).


Natural languages such as Arabic, English, French, Spanish, etc. are used in different ways and various vocabularies around the world and in different countries.

{See ISO/IEC SC32/WG1 N0178 for examples – found at the SC32/WG1 document register site }.


This localization issue can be systematically resolved by use of ISO 639-2 in conjunction with the ISO 3166-1 country code. For example, the use of the English (eng) and French (fra) languages in Canada (124) can be represented as “124:eng” and  “124:fra”, of use of French in France  “250:fra”, in Senegal “686:fra”, in Belgium “056:fra”, etc.


However, international entities as a “category of jurisdictions” such as the ISO, IEC, ITU, the UN and its international bodies have their peculiar use of common natural languages, use of terminology, vocabularies which may well and does differ from ordinary day-to-day use of English, of French, etc.


The use of natural languages in international contexts especially those recognized as international languages by the ISO (and UN) would benefit from having their own designated codes in ISO 639-2, i.e. for ISO English, ISO French, etc.


Candidate alpha-3 codes recommended for registration here are:


            ien       =          ISO English*

            ifr         =          ISO French*


 * Notes on Convention Used and Opportunity to Expand it to Cover UN Needs


 (1)      The convention used here is to add the prefix "i" representing "international", "ISO", "IEC", "ITU", etc. to the ISO 639-1 2-alpha code.


 (2)      The international languages of the ISO are English, French, and Russian.  The international languages of the United Nations are: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.  Applying the same conventions, the set of registered (or reserved) ISO 639-2 3-alpha codes would be:


            iar        =          ISO/UN Arabic

            izh       =          ISO/UN Chinese

            ien       =          ISO/UN English

            ifr         =          ISO/UN French

            iru        =          ISO/UN Russian

            ies       =          ISO/UN Spanish.


 (3)      None of the above 3-alpha codes are currently utilized in ISO 639-2 and thus are available for registration/reservation.



2.      Discussions and advice/decision required of SC32/WG1


The Project Editor for ISO/IEC 18036 (and 18022), Dr. Jake V. Knoppers is willing to undertake the consultations and work required to request  TC37/SC2 for reserved codes for “ISO English” and “ISO French” in ISO 639-2. However  whether or not such an activity should be undertaken is a decision to be made by SC32/WG1.



3.      Decision taken by  SC32/WG1 at its 30 July – 3 August, 2001 Piscataway,

(NJ, USA) Meeting


Resolution WG1/10: Possibility of reserved codes for “ISO English” and “ISO French” in ISO 639-2


SC32/WG1 authorizes the Project Editor for 18038 to make a request for reserved codes (WG1N179) for “ISO English” and “ISO French” in ISO 639-2.”