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ISO
ISO
639 is a set of standards by the International Organization for Standardization that is concerned with representation of names for languages and language groups. It was also the name of the original standard, approved in 1967 (as ISO
ISO
639/R)[1] and withdrawn in 2002.[2] The ISO
ISO
639 set consists of five parts.

Contents

1 Current and historical parts of the standard 2 Characteristics of individual codes 3 Relations between the parts 4 Code space

4.1 Alpha-2 code space 4.2 Alpha-3 code space 4.3 Alpha-4 code space

5 See also 6 Notes and references 7 External links

Current and historical parts of the standard[edit]

Standard Name (Codes for the representation of names of languages – ...) Registration Authority First edition Current No. in list

ISO
ISO
639-1 Part 1: Alpha-2 code Infoterm 1967 (as ISO
ISO
639) 2002 184

ISO
ISO
639-2 Part 2: Alpha-3 code Library of Congress 1998 1998 565 as of October 2015[3]

ISO
ISO
639-3 Part 3: Alpha-3 code for comprehensive coverage of languages SIL International 2007 2007 7865 + local range as of October 2015[4]

ISO
ISO
639-4 Part 4: Implementation guidelines and general principles for language coding ISO/TC 37/SC 2 2010-07-16 2010-07-16 (not a list)

ISO
ISO
639-5 Part 5: Alpha-3 code for language families and groups Library of Congress 2008-05-15 2008-05-15 114

ISO 639-6 (withdrawn) Part 6: Alpha-4 representation for comprehensive coverage of language variants Geolang 2009-11-17 withdrawn 21,000+

Each part of the standard is maintained by a maintenance agency, which adds codes and changes the status of codes when needed. ISO 639-6 was withdrawn in 2014.[5] Characteristics of individual codes[edit] Scopes:

Individual languages Macrolanguages (part 3) Collections of languages (part 1, 2, 5) (part 1 contains only 1 collection: bh; most collections are in part 2, and a few were added in part 5)

Group Rest group

Dialects Reserved for local use (part 2, 3) Special
Special
situations (part 2, 3)

Types (for individual languages):

Living languages (part 2, 3) (all macrolanguages are living languages)[6] Extinct languages (part 2, 3) (437,[7] four in part 2 chb, chg, cop, sam; none in part 1) Ancient languages (part 1, 2, 3) (112,[8] 19 are in part 2; and 5 of them, namely ave, chu, lat, pli and san, also have a code in part 1: ae, cu, la, pi, sa) Historic languages (part 2, 3) (63,[9] 16 of them are in part 2, none has part 1 code) Constructed languages (part 2, 3) (19,[10] 9 in part 2: epo, ina, ile, ido, vol, afh, jbo, tlh, zbl; five in part 1: eo, ia, ie, io, vo)

Bibliographic and terminology codes

Bibliographic (part 2) Terminology (part 2)

Relations between the parts[edit]

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The different parts of ISO
ISO
639 are designed to work together, in such a way that no code means one thing in one part and something else in another. However, not all languages are in all parts, and there is a variety of different ways that specific languages and other elements are treated in the different parts. This depends, for example, whether a language is listed in parts 1 or 2, whether it has separate B/T codes in part 2, or is classified as a macrolanguage in part 3, and so forth. These various treatments are detailed in the following chart. The first four columns contain codes for a representative language that exemplifies a specific type of relation between the parts of ISO
ISO
639. The last column provides an explanation of the relationship, and the "#" column indicates the number of elements that have that type of relationship. For example, there are four elements that have a code in part 1, have a B/T code, and are classified as macrolanguages in part 3. One representative of these four elements is "Persian" [fas].

ISO 639-1 ISO 639-2 ISO 639-3 ISO 639-5 # Description of example

en eng eng (-) 132 Languages with one code in each part. (There 185 in Part 1, subtract all special cases for Part 1 codes, 185-2-25-17-4-2-1-1-1=132)

nb nob nob (-) 2 An individual language that belongs to macrolanguage (nor), with same code in Part 2 and also has a code in Part 1. The two codes are: nob, non

ar ara ara (M) (-) 25 Part 3 macro, 55 macrolanguages total, subtract special cases, 55-24-4-1-1=25

de ger/deu (B/T) deu (-) 15 Elements that have separate B and T codes in part 2, but not in any of the special cases in succeeding lines. 22 total, subtract special cases, 22-1-4-2=15.

cs cze/ces (B/T) ces (-) 1 An element with separate B/T codes and the letters from the Part 1 code are not the first two letters of the T code.

fa per/fas (B/T) fas (M) (-) 4 Macrolanguages in part 3 with separate B/T codes in part 2; the four T codes are: fas, msa, sqi, zho

hr scr/hrv (B/T) hrv (-) 2 Languages with separate B/T codes in part 2, but the B code is deprecated. The two T codes are: hrv, srp. Deprecated 2008-06-28.

no ("M") nor ("M") nor (M) (-) 1 Macrolanguages in part 3 which contain languages that have codes in Part 1, nor: non, nob; no: nn, nb

bh bih (-) ? 1 Bihari (bih) is marked as collective despite having an ISO 639-1 code which should only be for individual languages. The reason is that some individual Bihari languages
Bihari languages
received an ISO 639-2 code, which makes Bihari a language family for the purposes of ISO
ISO
639-2, but a single language for the purposes of ISO
ISO
639-1. The single languages are: bho, mai, mag

sh (-) hbs (M) (-) 1 Macrolanguage in part 3, no part 2 code, part 1 code deprecated

(bh) bho bho (-) 3 Classified as individual languages in parts 2 & 3, do not belong to a macrolanguage, but in part 1 are covered by a code whose equivalent in part 2 is a collective. The three codes are: bho, mai, mag

(bh) (bih) sck (-)

An individual language in part 3, no code in Part 2, does not belong to a macrolanguage, but in Part 1 is covered by a code whose equivalent in Part 2 is a collective.

(-) car car car

An individual language in parts 2 & 3, but also included in Part 5 as a family[11][12]

(-) ast ast (-)

An individual language in parts 2 & 3, no code in Part 1.

(-) bal bal (M) (-) 24 An individual language in Part 2 and macrolanguage in Part 3, no code in Part 1.

(-) mis mis ? 1 special code: available to be used in a context where a code is required, but the language has no code

(-) mul mul ? 1 special code: multilingual content

(-) und und ? 1 special code: undetermined

(-) zxx zxx ? 1 special code: no linguistic information (added 2006-01-11)

(-) qaa qaa ? 520 reserved for local use, range is qaa ... qtz

(-) aus (-) aus

regular group in Part 2

(-) afa (-) afa

In Part 2 a rest group, i.e. same code but different languages included. In Part 2 "afa" refers to an Afro-Asiatic language that does not have an individual-language identifier in Part 2, and that does not fall into the rest groups "ber - Berber (Other)", "cus - Cushitic (Other)", or "sem - Semitic (Other)", all of which are Afro-Asiatic language groups.

(ar) (ara "M") arb (-)

An individual language, belongs to a macrolanguage (ara) in part 3, covered by the macrolanguage code in Part 2, also covered in Part 1.

(-) (nic "R") aaa (-)

No code in part 1, in Part 2 best covered by a rest group, "Niger-Kodofanian (Other)"

(-) (-) (-) sqj

Languages not coded in parts 1 & 2

These differences are due to the following factors:

In ISO
ISO
639-2, two alternate codes are assigned to 22 languages, namely a bibliographic and a terminology code (B/T codes).[13] B codes were included for historical reasons because previous widely used bibliographic systems used language codes based on the English name for the language. In contrast, the ISO 639-1 codes were based on the native name for the language, and there was also a strong desire to have 639-2 codes (T codes) for these languages which were similar to the corresponding 2-character code in ISO
ISO
639-1.

For instance, the German language
German language
(Part 1: de) has two codes in Part 2: ger (B code) and deu (T code), whereas there is only one code in Part 2, eng, for the English language.

Parts 2 and 3 have a reserved range and four special codes:

Codes qaa through qtz are reserved for local use. There are four special codes: mis for languages that have no code yet assigned, mul for "multiple languages", und for "undefined", and zxx for "no linguistic content, not applicable".

Individual languages in Part 2 always have a code in Part 3 but may or may not have a code in Part 1, as illustrated by the following examples:

Part 3 eng corresponds to Part 2 eng and Part 1 en Part 3 ast corresponds to Part 2 ast but lacks a code in Part 1.

Collective codes in Part 2 have a code in Part 5, e.g. aus in Part 2 and Part 5, which stands for Australian languages. one collective code in Part 2 has a code in Part 1

bih -> bh

some codes in Part 5 have no code in Part 2

sqj

some codes (#~56) in Part 3 are macrolanguages, they may have

no Part 2 code but a Part 1 codes and their containing languages have codes in Part 2 and Part 1 (#1): hbs <-> sh (deprecated) ; bos, hrv/scr, srp/scc -> bs, hr, sr a Part 2 code and a Part 1 code(#1), while their containing languages also have codes in Part 1 and Part 2: nor -> nor -> no ; non, nob -> non, nob -> nn, nb no Part 1 code (#several): two Part 2 codes (B/T) (#4): fas, msa, sqi, zho -> per/fas, may/msa, alb/sqi, chi/zho

Code space[edit] Alpha-2 code space[edit] "Alpha-2" codes (for codes composed of 2 letters of the ISO
ISO
basic Latin alphabet) are used in ISO
ISO
639-1. When codes for a wider range of languages were desired, more than 2 letter combinations could cover (a maximum of 262 = 676), ISO 639-2 was developed using Alpha-3 codes (though the latter was formally published first[14][15]). Alpha-3 code space[edit] "Alpha-3" codes (for codes composed of 3 letters of the ISO
ISO
basic Latin alphabet) are used in ISO
ISO
639-2, ISO
ISO
639-3, and ISO
ISO
639-5. The number of languages and language groups that can be so represented is 263 = 17,576. The common use of Alpha-3 codes by three parts of ISO
ISO
639 requires some coordination within a larger system. Part 2 defines four special codes mis, mul, und, zxx, a reserved range qaa-qtz (20 × 26 = 520 codes) and has 23 double entries (the B/T codes). This sums up to 520 + 23 + 4 = 547 codes that cannot be used in part 3 to represent languages or in part 5 to represent language families or groups. The remainder is 17,576 – 547 = 17,029. There are somewhere around six or seven thousand languages on Earth today.[16] So those 17,029 codes are adequate to assign a unique code to each language, although some languages may end up with arbitrary codes that sound nothing like the traditional name(s) of that language. Alpha-4 code space[edit] "Alpha-4" codes (for codes composed of 4 letters of the ISO
ISO
basic Latin alphabet) were proposed to be used in ISO
ISO
639-6, which has been withdrawn. The upper limit for the number of languages and dialects that can be represented is 264 = 456,976. See also[edit]

IETF language tags (based on ISO
ISO
639) ISO 3166 (codes for countries) ISO 15924 (codes for writing systems) Codes for constructed languages Language
Language
code Language
Language
families and languages List of languages List of official languages List of ISO 639-1 codes List of ISO 639-2 codes

Notes and references[edit]

^ "ISO/R 639:1967". Iso.org. 1988-03-01. Retrieved 2012-08-05.  ^ " ISO
ISO
639:1988". Iso.org. Retrieved 2012-08-05.  ^ "Codes for the Representation of Names of Languages: Alpha-3 codes arranged alphabetically by the English name of language". Library of Congress. Retrieved 2015-10-27.  ^ " ISO
ISO
639 code tables". Sil.org. Retrieved 2015-10-27.  ^ ISO
ISO
639-6:2009, ISO. ^ " ISO
ISO
639 code tables". Sil.org. Retrieved 2012-08-05.  ^ " ISO
ISO
639 code tables". Sil.org. Retrieved 2012-08-05.  ^ " ISO
ISO
639 code tables". Sil.org. Retrieved 2012-08-05.  ^ " ISO
ISO
639 code tables". Sil.org. Retrieved 2012-08-05.  ^ " ISO
ISO
639 code tables". Sil.org. Archived from the original on 2012-10-10. Retrieved 2012-08-05.  ^ " ISO
ISO
639 code sets". Sil.org. Retrieved 2012-08-05.  ^ " ISO 639-5 Identifier : Codes for the representation of names of languages ( ISO 639-5 Registration Authority - Library of Congress)". Loc.gov:8081. 2008-12-23. Retrieved 2012-08-05.  ^ " ISO 639-2 &endash; Frequently Asked Questions". loc.gov. 2014-05-05. Retrieved 2014-12-12.  ^ "Codes for the representation of names of languages -- Part 2: Alpha-3 code". International Organization for Standards. ISO. Retrieved 15 February 2018. Publication date : 1998-10  ^ "Codes for the representation of names of languages -- Part 1: Alpha-2 code". International Organization for Standards. ISO. Retrieved 15 February 2018. Publication date : 2002-07  ^ "Statistical Summaries". Ethnologue. Retrieved 2012-08-05. 

External links[edit]

Official ISO
ISO
639-1/RA (Registration Authority) Infoterm Official ISO
ISO
639-2/RA (Registration Authority) Library of Congress Official ISO
ISO
639-3/RA (Registration Authority) SIL International Official ISO
ISO
693-5/RA (Registration Authority) Library of Congress Official ISO
ISO
639-6/RA (Registration Authority) Geolang Common Locale Data Repository which contains translations of ISO
ISO
639 codes in other languages in an XML format. The CLDR survey tool also contains a more readable format of the data.

v t e

ISO
ISO
639 and ISO
ISO
639 macrolanguage

   

ISO
ISO
639-1 list of codes languages

ISO
ISO
639-2 list of codes languages

ISO
ISO
639-3 list of codes languages

ISO
ISO
639-4 — guidelines

ISO
ISO
639-5 list of codes families/groups

ISO
ISO
639-6 — variants

v t e

ISO
ISO
standards by standard number

List of ISO
ISO
standards / ISO
ISO
romanizations / IEC standards

1–9999

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 9 16 31

-0 -1 -2 -3 -4 -5 -6 -7 -8 -9 -10 -11 -12 -13

128 216 217 226 228 233 259 269 302 306 428 518 519 639

-1 -2 -3 -5 -6

646 690 732 764 843 898 965 1000 1004 1007 1073-1 1413 1538 1745 1989 2014 2015 2022 2047 2108 2145 2146 2240 2281 2709 2711 2788 2848 2852 3029 3103 3166

-1 -2 -3

3297 3307 3602 3864 3901 3977 4031 4157 4217 4909 5218 5428 5775 5776 5800 5964 6166 6344 6346 6385 6425 6429 6438 6523 6709 7001 7002 7098 7185 7200 7498 7736 7810 7811 7812 7813 7816 8000 8178 8217 8571 8583 8601 8632 8652 8691 8807 8820-5 8859

-1 -2 -3 -4 -5 -6 -7 -8 -8-I -9 -10 -11 -12 -13 -14 -15 -16

8879 9000/9001 9075 9126 9293 9241 9362 9407 9506 9529 9564 9594 9660 9897 9899 9945 9984 9985 9995

10000–19999

10005 10006 10007 10116 10118-3 10160 10161 10165 10179 10206 10218 10303

-11 -21 -22 -28 -238

10383 10487 10585 10589 10646 10664 10746 10861 10957 10962 10967 11073 11170 11179 11404 11544 11783 11784 11785 11801 11898 11940 (-2) 11941 11941 (TR) 11992 12006 12182 12207 12234-2 13211

-1 -2

13216 13250 13399 13406-2 13450 13485 13490 13567 13568 13584 13616 14000 14031 14224 14289 14396 14443 14496

-2 -3 -6 -10 -11 -12 -14 -17 -20

14644 14649 14651 14698 14750 14764 14882 14971 15022 15189 15288 15291 15292 15398 15408 15444

-3

15445 15438 15504 15511 15686 15693 15706

-2

15707 15897 15919 15924 15926 15926 WIP 15930 16023 16262 16612-2 16750 16949 (TS) 17024 17025 17100 17203 17369 17442 17799 18000 18004 18014 18245 18629 18916 19005 19011 19092 (-1 -2) 19114 19115 19125 19136 19439 19500 19501 19502 19503 19505 19506 19507 19508 19509 19510 19600 19752 19757 19770 19775-1 19794-5 19831

20000+

20000 20022 20121 20400 21000 21047 21500 21827:2002 22000 23270 23271 23360 24517 24613 24617 24707 25178 25964 26000 26300 26324 27000 series 27000 27001 27002 27006 27729 28000 29110 29148 29199-2 29500 30170 31000 32000 38500 40500 42010 55000 80000

-1 -2

.