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Subject: Re: [geolang-comment] ISSUE 3: The "language" published subject

At 00:01 03/05/02 -0400, John Cowan wrote:
> > If we do, how do we define "language"?
>The one thing we must not do is define it as "the class of things
>mentioned in ISO 639", however superficially attractive that is.
>Lots of the things in ISO 639 are not even languages, but groups of
>languages, and even some of the things that *appear* to be single
>languages aren't.

I stand corrected (and should admit that I have never actually even 
*looked* at ISO 639 itself!). I assumed that the standard only contained 
codes for languages. If it also "defines" language groups, then I believe 
we should include those as well, and also a published subject for "language 

However, I also stand by my original point, which is that we don't "create" 
anything ourselves; we only reflect what is in ISO 639, warts and all. And 
where there are no intensional definitions, we use the implicit extensional 

The job of fixing (or refining) ISO 639 should be left to experts like SIL.


Steve Pepper, Chief Executive Officer <pepper@ontopia.net>
Convenor, ISO/IEC JTC1/SC34/WG3  Editor, XTM (XML Topic Maps)
Ontopia AS, Waldemar Thranes gt. 98, N-0175 Oslo, Norway.
http://www.ontopia.net/ phone: +47-23233080 GSM: +47-90827246

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