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ISO 639-6

Updated: 2017-01-10T15:10Z

ISO 639-6, Codes for the representation of names of languages — Part 6: Alpha-4 code for comprehensive coverage of language variants, was a proposed international standard in the ISO 639 series, developed by ISO/TC 37/SC 2 (International Organization for Standardization, Technical Committee 37, Subcommittee 2: Terminographical and lexicographical working methods). It contained four-letter codes that denote variants of languages and language families. This allowed one to differentiate between, for example, historical (glvx) versus revived (rvmx) Manx, while ISO 639-3 only includes glv for Manx.

The data supporting ISO 639-6 was researched and compiled by the ISO's registration authority GeoLang. ISO 639-6 was published in 2009, and withdrawn in 2014.[1] The database also links each language and family to its principal ancestor, allowing the user to follow the classification of various languages. For example, the codes and ancestry of English is given below:

emenEarly Modern English
emseEarly Midland and South Eastern Middle English
mengMiddle English
angoAnglo Saxon
nseaNorth Sea
gmcwGermanic West

The database differentiates between different scripts used for the same language. For example, a number of different scripts were used in the Ottoman Empire and as a result the Ottoman Turkish language has been categorized as follows:

otaTurkish, Ottoman (1500–1928)
otaaTurkish, Ottoman (1500–1928) Armenian script
otahTurkish, Ottoman (1500–1928) Hellenic script
otapTurkish, Ottoman (1500–1928) Perso-Arabic script

See also

  • ISO 15924: Codes for the representation of names of scripts


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