ISO 639: Names of Languages

Just to let you know, we are no longer updating this section.
This is retained as a resource but nothing new has been added since late 2009. No further additions will be made by the DCC.

Date added 29 May 2007
Last edited 10 November 2009

Full Title

ISO 639: Codes for the Representation of Names of Languages

Description

ISO 639 provides 2, 3 and 4 letter language identifiers, using the Latin alphabet, to represent the names of individual or groups of languages. It is published in 6 parts which between them cover: the major world languages most frequently represented in literature; minor, living, extinct, ancient and constructed languages; implementation guidelines; languages for families or groups; language variants. Languages devised for machine use are not included.

Standards Developing Organisation

ISO

Rights

No information available.

Lifecycle Actions

Access, Use and Reuse
Create or Receive
Description and Representation Information

Standard Frameworks

Digital Archive Standards
Digital Repository Standards
Electronic Records Management Standards

Standard Type

Metadata Content Standards

Current Version

-
ISO 639 is made up of 6 parts, all of which are current. See Alternative Current Versions below.

Further Information

Codes for the Representation of Names of Languages [external]
List of the ISO 639-1 and 639-2 codes from the Library of Congress, who act as their the registration authority.
ISO 639-3 [external]
SIL International act as the Registration Authority for ISO 639-3

Alternative Current Versions

ISO 639-4: Implementation Guidelines and General Principles for Language Coding
(Not yet published)
ISO 639-6: Alpha-4 Code for Comprehensive Coverage of Language Variants
(Not yet published)
1998 - (ISO 639-2: Codes for the Representation of Names of Languages - Part 2: Alpha-3 Code) [external]
Full text available for purchase from ISO. Provides 3 letter language identifier codes for major languages.
2002 - ISO 639-1: Codes for the Representation of Names of Languages - Part 1: Alpha-2 Code [external]
Full text available for purchase from ISO. Provides 2 letter language identifier codes
2007 - ISO 639-3: Codes for the Representation of Names of Languages - Part 3: Alpha-3 Code for Comprehensive Coverage of Languages [external]
Full text available for purchase from ISO. Provides extended 3 letter language identifier codes to cover major, minor, living, extinct, ancient and constructed languages.
2008 - ISO 639-5: Codes for the Representation of Names of Languages - Part 5: Alpha-3 Code for Language Families and Groups [external]
Full text available for purchase from ISO. Provides 3 letter language identifiers for names of living and extinct language families and groups.

Previous Version

1988 - ISO 639
Superseded - documentation is no longer available.

Referenced Standards

ISO 15924: 2004, Information and Documentation - Codes for the Representation of Names of Scripts
ISO 3166-1:1997, Codes for the Representation of Names of Countries and Their Subdivisions - Part 1: Country Codes
ISO 3166-2:1998, Codes for the Representation of Names of Countries and their Subdivisions - Part 2: Country Subdivision Code
ISO 3166-3:1999, Codes for the Representation of Names of Countries and their Subdivisions - Part 3: Code for Formerly Used Names of Countries