Re: the Ethnologue

Date: Thu Sep 21 2000 - 17:21:02 EDT

[Apologies if you already got this. It seems to be bouncing, and so am
sending it again.]

On 09/21/2000 10:52:22 AM Doug Ewell wrote:


>Agreed. This is a refreshing departure from the position I perceived
>earlier, that ISO 639 was severely broken and the Ethnologue approach
>was inherently superior.


>That is a real solution, one that builds on ISO 639 instead of bashing

It has never been the intent to merely bash ISO 639 or to suggest that the
Ethnologue simply replace it. ISO 639 does have at least one serious
problem that I think needs to be solved - the problem of inadequate
documentation. There are some other issues that don't necessarily represent
problems that must be solved in order for it to be useful, but that do
point to that standard having some inherent limitations. But we readily
acknowledge that Ethnologue also has some limitations. Part of what we've
been saying is that no one effort can come up with a list of identifiers
that meets every need.

The main intent, then, is to work toward an overall solution to problems.
ISO 639 has to be part of the solution; we're suggesting as a particular
proposal that Ethnologue can also make some very valuable contributions to
the solution (including helping to solve ISO 639's documentation problem).
One particular way to do this relates to the other aspect to what we're
suggesting: a proposal that RFC1766 support additional namespaces (or
"sub-namespaces" - perhaps that's the better way to describe it).

At any rate, I'm glad to know that you think there may be promise in at
least some of what we're suggesting.


And thank you for the constructive interaction!

- Peter

Peter Constable

Non-Roman Script Initiative, SIL International
7500 W. Camp Wisdom Rd., Dallas, TX 75236, USA
Tel: +1 972 708 7485
E-mail: <>

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