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Codes for the Representation of Names of Languages Part 2: Alpha-3 Code
ISO (the International Organization for Standardization) is a worldwide federation of national standards bodies (ISO member bodies). The work of preparing International Standards is normally carried out though ISO technical committees. Each member body interested in a subject for which a technical committee has been established has the right to be represented on that committee. International organizations, governmental and non-governmental, in liaison with ISO, also take part in the work. ISO collaborates closely with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) on all matters of electrotechnical standardization.
Draft International Standards adopted by the technical committees are circulated to the member bodies for voting. Publication as an International Standard requires approval by at least 75% of the member bodies casting a vote.
International Standard ISO 639-2 was prepared jointly by Technical Committees ISO/TC 37, Terminology (principles and coordination), Subcommittee SC 2, Layout of vocabularies and ISO/TC 46, Information and documentation, Subcommittee SC 4, Computer applications in information and documentation.
ISO 639 consists of the following parts, under the general title Codes for the representation of names of languages:
Annex A forms an integral part of this part of ISO 639.
ISO 639 provides two sets of language codes, one as a two-letter code set (639-1) and another as a three-letter code set (this part of ISO 639) for the representation of names of languages. ISO 639-1 was devised primarily for use in terminology, lexicography and linguistics. This part of ISO 639 represents all languages contained in ISO 639-1 and in addition any other language as well as language groups as they may be coded for special purposes when more specificity in coding is needed. The languages listed in ISO 639-1 are a subset of the languages listed in ISO 639-2; every language code in the two-letter code set has a corresponding language code in the alpha-3 list, but not necessarily vice versa.
Both code lists are to be considered as open lists. The codes were devised for use in terminology, lexicography, information and documentation (i.e. for libraries, information services, and publishers) and linguistics. This part of ISO 639 also includes guidelines for the creation of language codes and their use in some applications.
The codes listed in this document are current as of the publication of ISO 639-2: 1998. ISO 639-1 codes contain those published in ISO 639: 1988 with additions from ISO 639/RA Newsletter No. 1/1989 and from a decision of the Advisory Committee of ISO/TC 37 on 1997-08-27 in Copenhagen.
Updates will be announced in a newsletter at http://www.loc.gov/standards/iso639-2/codechanges.html.
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