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.

Collective codes

ISO 639-5 defines alpha-3 (3-letter) codes, called "collective codes," that identify language families and groups. As of the February 11, 2013 update to ISO 639-5, the standard defines 115 collective codes.[1][2] The United States Library of Congress maintains the list of Alpha-3 codes that comprise ISO 639-5.[3]

The standard does not cover all language families used by linguists. The languages covered by a group code need not be linguistically related, but may have a geographic relation, or category relation (such as Creoles).

Relationship to other parts of ISO 639

Some of the codes in ISO 639-5 codes are also found in the ISO 639-2 "Alpha-3 code" standard.[4] ISO 639-2 contains codes for some individual languages, some ISO 639 macrolanguage codes, and some collective codes; any code found in ISO 639-2 is also found in either ISO 639-3 or ISO 639-5.

Languages, families, or group codes in ISO 639-2 can be of type "group" (g) or "remainder group" (r). A "group" consists of several related languages; a "remainder group" is a group of several related languages from which some specific languages have been excluded. However, in ISO 639-5, the "remainder groups" do not exclude any languages. Because ISO 639-2 and ISO 639-5 use the same Alpha-3 codes, but do not always refer to the same list of languages for any given code, the languages an Alpha-3 code refers to can't be determined unless it is known whether the code is used in the context of ISO 639-2 or ISO 639-5.

Examples of ISO 639-2 and ISO 639-5 code relationships
Alpha-3 code ISO 639-2 Type ISO 639-2 definition ISO 639-5 definition
afa remainder group (r) Afro-Asiatic languages all Afro-Asiatic languages
alg normal group (g) all Algonquian languages all Algonquian languages
sqj not defined not defined Albanian languages


The committee draft of ISO 639-5 was issued on February 23, 2005. Voting on the draft terminated on July 5, 2005; the draft was approved.

In 2006, the target publication date for the final standard was set at October 30, 2007. During the approval stage for the standard, the ISO final draft international standard ballot was not initiated until February 8, 2008. Voting ended on April 10, 2008 ("stage 50.60").

The standard was published on May 15, 2008.

Updates were made in August 2008, February 2009, and February 2013.[1]


The ISO 639-5 code-set represents a very tiny proportion of the language families and groups of the world. A more complete attempt at coding was ISO 639-6 (withdrawn in 2014).


  1. ^ a b "ISO 639-5 Change Notice". Network Development & MARC Standards Office. Library of Congress. Retrieved December 12, 2018.
  2. ^ "ISO 639-5 codes ordered by Identifier". Network Development & MARC Standards Office. Library of Congress. Retrieved December 12, 2018.
  3. ^ "ISO 639-5 Registration Authority". Network Development & MARC Standards Office. Library of Congress. February 18, 2009. Retrieved December 12, 2018.
  4. ^ "Annex A: Groups and remainder groups in ISO 639-2". Network Development & MARC Standards Office. Library of Congress. Retrieved December 12, 2018.

External links

AQA (disambiguation)

AQA may refer to or stand for:


aqa, the ISO 639-5 for the unspecified Alacalufan languagesAqa

Aqa, one of two villages in Iran

Aqa, Kermanshah

Aqa, LorestanAQA

AST-Quadram-Ashton-Tate, an alliance responsible for the definition of the Enhanced Expanded Memory Specification (EEMS)

Assessment and Qualifications Alliance, an exam board in England, Wales and Northern Ireland

The Aquatic Sector in the Metroid Fusion video game

Australian Quadriplegic Association, renamed Spinal Cord Injuries Australia

Analytical quality assurance

IATA code for Araraquara Airport


Aql may refer to:

'Aql, an Islamic term

Aquila (constellation), constellation abbreviation, as standardized by the International Astronomical Union

Algic languages, by ISO 639-5 language code

Said Aql (1912–2014), Lebanese poet, writer, playwright and language reformer

Aql (company), a telecommunications company based in Leeds, UKAQL may refer to:

Acceptable quality limit, the worst-case quality level, expressed as a percentage of defects in a population, that is still considered acceptable

Association québécoise de linguistique, the Quebec Linguistic Society

AQL (ArangoDB_Query_Language), a database query language

Codes for constructed languages

This is a list of ISO 639 codes and IETF language tags (BCP 47) for individual constructed languages, complete as of January 2019.

ISO 639-2 and ISO 639-5 also have the code art for other artificial languages. The BCP 47 subtag x can be used to create a suitable private use tag for any constructed language that has not been assigned an official language tag (e.g., art-x-solresol could be used for Solresol).

The old SIL language identifiers (usually written in capitals) are officially obsolete and should no longer be used. They formed the basis of the ISO 639-3 language codes, but some SIL identifiers that had been retired before the establishment of ISO 639-3 were later assigned to different languages within ISO.

The IANA Language Subtag Registry (for IETF’s language tags defined in BCP 47) was updated on 29 July 2009 to include all ISO 639-3 and ISO 639-5 identifiers in use at that time.

IETF language tag

An IETF BCP 47 language tag is a code to identify human languages. For example, the tag en stands for English; es-419 for Latin American Spanish; rm-sursilv for Sursilvan; gsw-u-sd-chzh for Zürich German; nan-Hant-TW for Min Nan Chinese as spoken in Taiwan using traditional Han characters. To distinguish language variants for countries, regions, writing systems etc., IETF language tags combine subtags from other standards such as ISO 639, ISO 15924, ISO 3166-1, and UN M.49. The tag structure has been standardized by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) in Best Current Practice (BCP) 47; the subtags are maintained by the IANA Language Subtag Registry. IETF language tags are used by computing standards such as HTTP,, HTML, XML, and PNG.

ISO 639

ISO 639 is a set of standards by the International Organization for Standardization that is concerned with representation of names for languages and language groups.

It was also the name of the original standard, approved in 1967 (as ISO 639/R) and withdrawn in 2002. The ISO 639 set consists of five parts.

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, 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 macrolanguage

A macrolanguage is a book-keeping mechanism for the ISO 639 international standard for language codes. Macrolanguages are established to assist mapping between different sets of ISO language codes. Specifically, there may be a many-to-one correspondence between ISO 639-3, intended to identify all the thousands of languages of the world, and either of two other sets, ISO 639-1, established to identify languages in computer systems, and ISO 639-2, which encodes a few hundred languages for library cataloguing and bibliographic purposes. When such many-to-one ISO 639-2 codes are included in an ISO 639-3 context, they are called "macrolanguages" to distinguish them from the corresponding individual languages of ISO 639-3. According to the ISO,

Some existing code elements in ISO 639-2, and the corresponding code elements in ISO 639-1, are designated in those parts of ISO 639 as individual language code elements, yet are in a one-to-many relationship with individual language code elements in [ISO 639-3]. For purposes of [ISO 639-3], they are considered to be macrolanguage code elements.

ISO 639-3 is curated by SIL International, ISO 639-2 is curated by the Library of Congress (USA).

The mapping often has the implication that it covers borderline cases where two language varieties may be considered strongly divergent dialects of the same language or very closely related languages (dialect continuums); it may also encompass situations when there are language varieties that are considered to be varieties of the same language on the grounds of ethnic, cultural, and political considerations, rather than linguistic reasons. However, this is not its primary function and the classification is not evenly applied.

For example, Chinese is a macrolanguage encompassing many languages that are not mutually intelligible, but the languages "Standard German", "Bavarian German", and other closely related languages do not form a macrolanguage, despite being more mutually intelligible. Other examples include Tajiki not being part of the Persian macrolanguage despite sharing much lexicon, and Urdu and Hindi not forming a macrolanguage despite forming a mutually intelligible dialect continuum. Even all dialects of Hindi are considered as separate languages. Basically, ISO 639-2 and ISO 639-3 use different criteria for dividing language varieties into languages, 639-2 uses shared writing systems and literature more whereas 639-3 focuses on mutual intelligibility and shared lexicon. The macrolanguages exist within the ISO 639-3 code set to make mapping between the two sets easier.

As of 25 January 2019, there are fifty-eight language codes in ISO 639-2 that are considered to be macrolanguages in ISO 639-3. The use of this category of macrolanguage was applied in Ethnologue, starting in the 16th edition.Some of the macrolanguages had no individual language (as defined by 639-3) in ISO 639-2, e.g. "ara" (Arabic), but ISO 639-3 recognizes different varieties of Arabic as separate languages under some circumstances. Others, like "nor" (Norwegian) had their two individual parts (nno Nynorsk, nob Bokmål) already in 639-2. That means some languages (e.g. "arb" Standard Arabic) that were considered by ISO 639-2 to be dialects of one language ("ara") are now in ISO 639-3 in certain contexts considered to be individual languages themselves. This is an attempt to deal with varieties that may be linguistically distinct from each other, but are treated by their speakers as forms of the same language, e.g. in cases of diglossia. For example,

Generic Arabic, 639-2

Standard Arabic, 639-3ISO 639-2 also includes codes for collections of languages; these are not the same as macrolanguages. These collections of languages are excluded from ISO 639-3, because they never refer to individual languages. Most such codes are included in ISO 639-5.

List of ISO 639-2 codes

ISO 639 is a set of international standards that lists short codes for language names. The following is a complete list of three-letter codes defined in part two (ISO 639-2) of the standard, including the corresponding two-letter (ISO 639-1) codes where they exist.

Where two ISO 639-2 codes are given in the table, the one with the asterisk is the bibliographic code (B code) and the other is the terminological code (T code).

Entries in the Scope and Type columns distinguish:

ancient languages (extinct since ancient times);

collections of languages (which are connected, for example genetically or by region)

constructed languages;

languages extinct in recent times;

historical languages (distinct from their modern form);

macrolanguages.The standard includes some codes for special situations:

mis, for "uncoded languages";

mul, for "multiple languages";

qaa-qtz, a range reserved for local use.

und, for "undetermined";

zxx, for "no linguistic content; not applicable";

*Synonyms for terminology applications (ISO 639-2/T) and for *bibliographic applications (ISO 639-2/B)

List of ISO 639-3 codes

These are lists of ISO 639-3 language codes.

Index |

a |

b |

c |

d |

e |

f |

g |

h |

i |

j |

k |

l |

m |

n |

o |

p |

q |

r |

s |

t |

u |

v |

w |

x |

y |


List of ISO 639-5 codes

This is a list of ISO 639-5 codes, including the code hierarchy as given in the ISO 639-5 registry. The code und (undetermined) from ISO 639-2 can be seen as top of the hierarchy (for example, und:aav, und:euq:eu). The hierarchy is not a complete genetic hierarchy; some of the collection codes are based on geography (like nai) or category (like crp) instead.

Lists of ISO 639 codes

Lists of ISO 639 codes are:

List of ISO 639-1 codes, with corresponding ISO 639-2 and ISO 639-3 codes

List of ISO 639-2 codes, with corresponding ISO 639-1 codes

List of ISO 639-3 codes, with corresponding ISO 639-1 and ISO 639-2 codes

List of ISO 639-3 macrolanguages, with corresponding ISO 639-1 and ISO 639-2 codes

List of ISO 639-5 codes, with markers for corresponding ISO 639-2 codes

Lists of languages

This page lists published lists of languages.

OMV (disambiguation)

OMV may stand for:

OMV, an oil-producing, refining and gas station operating company in Austria

Oblati di Maria Vergine (Oblates of the Virgin Mary), a religious order of the Catholic Church

Omotic languages (ISO 639-5 language code)

OpenMediaVault, a free network-attached storage server

Orbital Maneuvering Vehicle, defunct NASA space tug design


ZND may refer to:

The IATA code for Zinder Airport

ZND detonation model

znd, the ISO 639-5 code for Zande languages

ISO standards by standard number

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