The language codes defined in the several sections of ISO 639 are used for bibliographic purposes and, in computing and internet environments, as a key element of locale data. The codes also find use in various applications, such as Wikipedia URLs for its different language editions.
A multilingual page is contained by the CSS class "multilingual", with text in every language contained within the class "lang-xx", where xx is a lowercase ISO 639 two-letter or three-letter language code and the lang attribute. The lang attribute is contextually more correct, but the CSS required to hook into it is not supported by all browsers. If there is no two-letter code, the lowercase three-letter code is used. For text in an unknown language "und", (undetermined) is used.
|Standard||Name (Codes for the representation of names of languages – ...)||Registration Authority||First edition||Current||No. in list (as of 25 January 2019)|
|ISO 639-1||Part 1: Alpha-2 code||Infoterm||1967 (as ISO 639)||2002||184|
|ISO 639-2||Part 2: Alpha-3 code||Library of Congress||1998||1998||507|
|ISO 639-3||Part 3: Alpha-3 code for comprehensive coverage of languages||SIL International||2007||2007||7,865 + local range|
|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 639-5||Part 5: Alpha-3 code for language families and groups||Library of Congress||2008-05-15||2013-02-11||115|
|ISO 639-6 (withdrawn)||Part 6: Alpha-4 representation for comprehensive coverage of language variants||Geolang||2009-11-17||withdrawn||21,000+|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 ISO 639-6 was withdrawn in 2014.
Types (for individual languages):
Bibliographic and terminology codes
The different parts of 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 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||(-)||129||Languages with one code in each part. (There 184 in Part 1, subtract all special cases for Part 1 codes, 184-2-28-13-3-4-2-1-1-1=129)|
|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)||(-)||28||Part 3 macro, 62 macrolanguages total, subtract special cases, 62-25-4-1-1-3=28|
|de||ger/deu (B/T)||deu||(-)||13||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, 22-3-4-2=13.|
|cs||cze/ces (B/T)||ces||(-)||3||An element with separate B/T codes and the letters from the Part 1 code are not the first two letters of the Part 2 T code. The codes are cs/ces, mi/mri, sk/slk|
|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||(-)||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 received an ISO 639-2 code, which makes Bihari a language family for the purposes of ISO 639-2, but a single language for the purposes of ISO 639-1. The individual languages include bho, mai, mag|
|sh||(-)||hbs (M)||(-)||1||Macrolanguage in part 3, no part 2 code, part 1 code deprecated|
|(-)||(-)||bnc (M)||(-)||3||Macrolanguage in part 3, no part 1 or part 2 codes. The codes are bnc, kln, luy|
|(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.|
|(-)||ast||ast||(-)||An individual language in parts 2 & 3, no code in Part 1.|
|(-)||bal||bal (M)||(-)||25||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:
qtzare reserved for local use.
misfor languages that have no code yet assigned,
mulfor "multiple languages",
undfor "undefined", and
zxxfor "no linguistic content, not applicable".
engcorresponds to Part 2
engand Part 1
astcorresponds to Part 2
astbut lacks a code in Part 1.
ausin Part 2 and Part 5, which stands for Australian languages.
"Alpha-2" codes (for codes composed of 2 letters of the ISO basic Latin alphabet) are used in 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. (However, the latter was formally published first.)
"Alpha-3" codes (for codes composed of 3 letters of the ISO basic Latin alphabet) are used in ISO 639-2, ISO 639-3, and 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 639 requires some coordination within a larger system.
Part 2 defines four special codes
zxx, a reserved range
qaa-qtz (20 × 26 = 520 codes) and has 22 double entries (the B/T codes). This sums up to 520 + 22 + 4 = 546 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 – 546 = 17,030.
There are somewhere around six or seven thousand languages on Earth today. So those 17,030 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" codes (for codes composed of 4 letters of the ISO basic Latin alphabet) were proposed to be used in 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.
Publication date : 1998-10
Publication date : 2002-07
Azerbaijani () or Azeri (), also sometimes referred to as Azeri Turkic or Azeri Turkish, is a term referring to two Turkic lects (North Azerbaijani and South Azerbaijani) that are spoken primarily by the Azerbaijanis, who live mainly in Transcaucasia and Iran. North Azerbaijani and South Azerbaijani have significant differences in phonology, lexicon, morphology, syntax, and loanwords. ISO 639-3 groups the two lects as a "macrolanguage".North Azerbaijani has official status in the Republic of Azerbaijan and Dagestan (a federal subject of Russia) but South Azerbaijani does not have official status in Iran, where the majority of Azerbaijanis live. It is also spoken to lesser varying degrees in Azerbaijani communities of Georgia and Turkey and by diaspora communities, primarily in Europe and North America.
Both North Azerbaijani and South Azerbaijani are members of the Oghuz branch of the Turkic languages. North Azerbaijani (spoken in the Republic of Azerbaijan and Russia) is based on the Shirvani dialect and South Azerbaijani (spoken in Iran) is based on the Tabrizi dialect, and is closely related to Turkish, Qashqai, Gagauz, Turkmen and Crimean Tatar, sharing varying degrees of mutual intelligibility with each of those languages.Estonian language
The Estonian language (eesti keel [ˈeːsti ˈkeːl] (listen)) is the official language of Estonia, spoken natively by about 1.1 million people: 922,000 people in Estonia and 160,000 outside Estonia. It is a Southern Finnic language and is the second most spoken language among all the Finnic languages.Georgian language
Georgian (ქართული ენა, translit.: kartuli ena, pronounced [kʰɑrtʰuli ɛnɑ]) is a Kartvelian language spoken by Georgians. It is the official language of Georgia. Georgian is written in its own writing system, the Georgian script. Georgian is the literary language for all regional subgroups of Georgians, including those who speak other Kartvelian languages: Svans, Mingrelians and the Laz.Hausa language
Hausa (; Yaren Hausa or Harshen Hausa) is the Chadic language (a branch of the Afroasiatic language family) with the largest number of speakers, spoken as a first language by some 44 million people, and as a second language by another 20 million. The total number of Hausa speakers is estimated at 63 million, according to Ethnologue.
The ancestral language of the Hausa people, one of the largest ethnic groups in Central Africa, Hausa is mostly spoken throughout southern Niger and northern Nigeria. It has developed into a lingua franca across much of Western Africa for purposes of trade.Hindi
Hindi (Devanagari: हिन्दी, IAST: Hindī), or Modern Standard Hindi (Devanagari: मानक हिन्दी, IAST: Mānak Hindī) is a standardised and Sanskritised register of the Hindustani language. Hindi, written in the Devanagari script, is one of the official languages of India, along with the English language. It is one of the 22 scheduled languages of the Republic of India. However, it is not the national language of India because no language was given such a status in the Indian constitution.Hindi is the lingua franca of the Hindi belt, and to a lesser extent other parts of India (usually in a simplified or pidginized variety such as Bazaar Hindustani or Haflong Hindi). Outside India, several other languages are recognized officially as "Hindi" but do not refer to the Standard Hindi language described here and instead descend from other dialects of Hindustani, such as Awadhi and Bhojpuri. Such languages include Fiji Hindi, which is official in Fiji, and Caribbean Hindustani, which is a recognized language in Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, and Suriname. Apart from specialized vocabulary, spoken Hindi is mutually intelligible with Urdu, another recognized register of Hindustani.
As a linguistic variety, Hindi is the fourth most-spoken first language in the world, after Mandarin, Spanish and English. Alongside Urdu as Hindustani, it is the third most-spoken language in the world, after Mandarin and English.ISO 639-1
ISO 639-1:2002, Codes for the representation of names of languages — Part 1: Alpha-2 code, is the first part of the ISO 639 series of international standards for language codes. Part 1 covers the registration of two-letter codes. There are 184 two-letter codes registered as of December 2018. The registered codes cover the world's major languages.
These codes are a useful international and formal shorthand for indicating languages.
Many multilingual web sites—such as Wikipedia—use these codes to prefix URLs of specific language versions of their web sites: for example, en.Wikipedia.org is the English version of Wikipedia. See also IETF language tag. (Two-letter country-specific top-level-domain code suffixes are often different from these language-tag prefixes).
ISO 639, the original standard for language codes, was approved in 1967. It was split into parts, and in 2002 ISO 639-1 became the new revision of the original standard. The last code added was ht, representing Haitian Creole on 2003-02-26. The use of the standard was encouraged by IETF language tags, introduced in RFC 1766 in March 1995, and continued by RFC 3066 from January 2001 and RFC 4646 from September 2006. The current version is RFC 5646 from September 2009. Infoterm (International Information Center for Terminology) is the registration authority for ISO 639-1 codes.
New ISO 639-1 codes are not added if an ISO 639-2 code exists, so systems that use ISO 639-1 and 639-2 codes, with 639-1 codes preferred, do not have to change existing codes.If an ISO 639-2 code that covers a group of languages is used, it might be overridden for some specific languages by a new ISO 639-1 code.
There is no specification on treatment of macrolanguages (see ISO 639-3).ISO 639-2
ISO 639-2:1998, Codes for the representation of names of languages — Part 2: Alpha-3 code, is the second part of the ISO 639 standard, which lists codes for the representation of the names of languages. The three-letter codes given for each language in this part of the standard are referred to as "Alpha-3" codes. There are 487 entries in the list of ISO 639-2 codes.
The US Library of Congress is the registration authority for ISO 639-2 (referred to as ISO 639-2/RA). As registration authority, the LOC receives and reviews proposed changes; they also have representation on the ISO 639-RA Joint Advisory Committee responsible for maintaining the ISO 639 code tables.ISO 639-3
ISO 639-3:2007, Codes for the representation of names of languages – Part 3: Alpha-3 code for comprehensive coverage of languages, is an international standard for language codes in the ISO 639 series. It defines three-letter codes for identifying languages. The standard was published by ISO on 1 February 2007.ISO 639-3 extends the ISO 639-2 alpha-3 codes with an aim to cover all known natural languages. The extended language coverage was based primarily on the language codes used in the Ethnologue (volumes 10-14) published by SIL International, which is now the registration authority for ISO 639-3. It provides an enumeration of languages as complete as possible, including living and extinct, ancient and constructed, major and minor, written and unwritten. However, it does not include reconstructed languages such as Proto-Indo-European.ISO 639-3 is intended for use as metadata codes in a wide range of applications. It is widely used in computer and information systems, such as the Internet, in which many languages need to be supported. In archives and other information storage, they are used in cataloging systems, indicating what language a resource is in or about. The codes are also frequently used in the linguistic literature and elsewhere to compensate for the fact that language names may be obscure or ambiguous.ISO 639-5
ISO 639-5:2008 "Codes for the representation of names of languages—Part 5: Alpha-3 code for language families and groups" is a highly incomplete international standard published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). It was developed by ISO Technical Committee 37, Subcommittee 2, and first published on May 15, 2008. It is part of the ISO 639 series of standards.List of ISO 639-1 codes
ISO 639 is a standardized nomenclature used to classify languages. Each language is assigned a two-letter (639-1) and three-letter (639-2 and 639-3), lowercase abbreviation, amended in later versions of the nomenclature.
This table lists all of:
ISO 639-1: two-letter codes, one per language for ISO 639 macrolanguageAnd some of:
ISO 639-2/T: three-letter codes, for the same languages as 639-1
ISO 639-2/B: three-letter codes, mostly the same as 639-2/T, but with some codes derived from English names rather than native names of languages (in the following table, these differing codes are highlighted in boldface)
ISO 639-3: three-letter codes, the same as 639-2/T for languages, but with distinct codes for each variety of an ISO 639 macrolanguageNote: Colors on the leftmost column represent the language family mentioned in second column.Malagasy language
Malagasy (; Malagasy pronunciation: [ˌmalaˈɡasʲ]) is an Austronesian language and the national language of Madagascar. Most people in Madagascar speak it as a first language as do some people of Malagasy descent elsewhere.Malay language
Malay (; Malay: Bahasa Melayu بهاس ملايو) is a major language of the Austronesian family spoken in Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. A language of the Malays, it is spoken by 290 million people across the Strait of Malacca, including the coasts of the Malay Peninsula of Malaysia and the eastern coast of Sumatra in Indonesia, and has been established as a native language of part of western coastal Sarawak and West Kalimantan in Borneo. It is also used as a trading language in the southern Philippines, including the southern parts of the Zamboanga Peninsula, the Sulu Archipelago, and the southern predominantly Muslim-inhabited municipalities of Bataraza and Balabac in Palawan.
As the Bahasa Kebangsaan, or Bahasa Nasional ("national language") of several states, Standard Malay has various official names. In Malaysia, it is designated as either Bahasa Malaysia ("Malaysian language") or Bahasa Melayu ("Malay language"). In Singapore and Brunei, it is called Bahasa Melayu ("Malay language"); and in Indonesia, an autonomous normative variety called Bahasa Indonesia ("Indonesian language") is designated the Bahasa Persatuan/Pemersatu ("unifying language"/lingua franca). However, in areas of central to southern Sumatra where vernacular varieties of Malay are indigenous, Indonesians refer to it as Bahasa Melayu and consider it one of their regional languages.
Standard Malay, also called Court Malay, was the literary standard of the pre-colonial Malacca and Johor Sultanates, and so the language is sometimes called Malacca, Johor or Riau Malay (or various combinations of those names) to distinguish it from the various other Malayan languages. According to Ethnologue 16, several of the Malayan varieties they currently list as separate languages, including the Orang Asli varieties of Peninsular Malay, are so closely related to standard Malay that they may prove to be dialects. There are also several Malay trade and creole languages which are based on a lingua franca derived from Classical Malay as well as Macassar Malay, which appears to be a mixed language.Nepali language
Nepali (Devanagari: नेपाली), known by the endonym Khas Kura (Devanagari: खस कुरा) also known as Gorkhali or Parbatiya, is an Indo-Aryan language of the sub-branch of Eastern Pahari. It is the official language of Nepal and one of the official status gained language of India. It is spoken mainly in Nepal and by about a quarter of the population in Bhutan. In India, Nepali is listed in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution as an Indian language, with official status in the state of Sikkim, and spoken in Northeast Indian states such as Assam and in West Bengal's Darjeeling district. It is also spoken in Burma and by the Nepali diaspora worldwide. Nepali developed in proximity to a number of Indo-Aryan languages, most notably the other Pahari languages and Maithili, and shows Sanskrit influence. However, owing to Nepal's location, it has also been influenced by Tibeto-Burman languages. Nepali is mainly differentiated from Central Pahari, both in grammar and vocabulary, by Tibeto-Burman idioms owing to close contact with this language group.Historically, the language was called Khas Speech (Khas Kurā) and Gorkhali (language of the Gorkha Kingdom) before the term Nepali was adopted.
The origin of modern Nepali language is believed to be from Sinja valley of Jumla. Therefore, the Nepali dialect “Khas Bhasa” is still spoken among the people of the region.It is also known as Khey (the native term for Khas Arya living in the periphery of the Kathmandu valley), Parbate (native term meaning "of the hill") or Partya among the Newar people, and Pahari among the Madhesis and Tharus. Other names include Dzongkha Lhotshammikha ("Southern Language", spoken by the Lhotshampas of Bhutan).Odia language
Odia (ଓଡ଼ିଆ Oṛiā ; formerly romanized as Oriya) is a classical Indo-Aryan language spoken in the Indian state of Odisha.It is the official language in Odisha (Orissa) where native speakers make up 82% of the population, also spoken in parts of West Bengal, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, and Andhra Pradesh. Odia is one of the many official languages of India; it is the official language of Odisha and the second official language of Jharkhand. The language is also spoken by a sizeable population of at least 1 million people in Chhattisgarh.
Odia is the sixth Indian language to be designated a Classical Language in India on the basis of having a long literary history and not having borrowed extensively from other languages. The earliest known inscription in Odia dates back to the 10th century AD.Serbian language
Serbian (српски / srpski, pronounced [sr̩̂pskiː]) is the standardized variety of the Serbo-Croatian language mainly used by Serbs. It is the official language of Serbia, the territory of Kosovo, and one of the three official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In addition, it is a recognized minority language in Montenegro where it is spoken by the relative majority of the population, as well as in Croatia, North Macedonia, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic.
Standard Serbian is based on the most widespread dialect of Serbo-Croatian, Shtokavian (more specifically on Šumadija-Vojvodina and Eastern Herzegovinian dialects), which is also the basis of Standard Croatian, Bosnian, and Montenegrin. The other dialect spoken by Serbs is Torlakian in southeastern Serbia, which is transitional to Macedonian and Bulgarian.
Serbian is practically the only European standard language whose speakers are fully functionally digraphic, using both Cyrillic and Latin alphabets. The Serbian Cyrillic alphabet was devised in 1814 by Serbian linguist Vuk Karadžić, who created the alphabet on phonemic principles. The Latin alphabet was designed by Croatian linguist Ljudevit Gaj in 1830.Sindhi language
Sindhi (سنڌي, सिन्धी, , ਸਿੰਧੀ), is an Indo-Aryan language of the historical Sindh region in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent, spoken by the Sindhi people. It is the official language of the Pakistani province of Sindh. In India, Sindhi is one of the scheduled languages officially recognized by the central government, though Sindhi is not an official language of any of the states in India.Spurious languages
Spurious languages are languages that have been reported as existing in reputable works, while other research has reported that the language in question did not exist. Some spurious languages have been proven to not exist. Others have very little evidence supporting their existence, and have been dismissed in later scholarship. Others still are of uncertain existence due to limited research.
Below is a sampling of languages that have been claimed to exist in reputable sources but have subsequently been disproved or challenged. In some cases a purported language is tracked down and turns out to be another, known language. This is common when language varieties are named after places or ethnicities.
Some alleged languages turn out to be hoaxes, such as the Kukurá language of Brazil or the Taensa language of Louisiana. Others are honest errors that persist in the literature despite being corrected by the original authors; an example of this is Hongote, the name given in 1892 to two Colonial word lists, one of Tlingit and one of a Salishan language, that were mistakenly listed as Patagonian. The error was corrected three times that year, but nonetheless "Hongote" was still listed as a Patagonian language a century later in Greenberg (1987).In the case of New Guinea, one of the most linguistically diverse areas on Earth, some spurious languages are simply the names of language surveys that the data was published under. Examples are Mapi, Kia, Upper Digul, Upper Kaeme, listed as Indo-Pacific languages in Ruhlen 1987; these are actually rivers that gave their names to language surveys in the Greater Awyu languages and Ok languages of New Guinea.Telugu language
Telugu (English: ; తెలుగు [teluɡu]) is a Dravidian language spoken in the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and the union territories of Puducherry (Yanam) by the Telugu people. It stands alongside Hindi, English and Bengali as one of the few languages with primary official language status in more than one Indian state. There are also significant linguistic minorities in neighbouring states. It is one of six languages designated a classical language of India by the country's government.Telugu ranks fourth among the languages with the highest number of native speakers in India, with 6.93 percent at the 2011 census, and fifteenth in the Ethnologue list of most widely-spoken languages worldwide. It is the most widely spoken member of the Dravidian language family. It is one of the twenty-two scheduled languages of the Republic of India. Roughly 10,000 pre-colonial inscriptions exist in the Telugu language.Uzbek language
Uzbek is a Turkic language that is the first official and only declared national language of Uzbekistan. The language of Uzbeks, it is spoken by some 33 million native speakers in Uzbekistan and elsewhere in Central Asia.
Uzbek belongs to the Eastern Turkic, or Karluk, branch of the Turkic language family. External influences include Persian, Arabic and Russian. One of the most noticeable distinctions of Uzbek from other Turkic languages is the rounding of the vowel /ɑ/ to /ɒ/, a feature that was influenced by Persian.
ISO 639 and ISO 639 macrolanguage
ISO standards by standard number