This is the home page for Part 3 of the ISO 639 family of standards, Codes for the representation of names of languages. ISO 639-3 attempts to provide as complete an enumeration of languages as possible, including living, extinct, ancient, and constructed languages, whether major or minor, written or unwritten.
Summary of requested changes for 2012
Altogether 155 requests were considered, recommending 200 explicit changes in the code set. Among those decided, 9 have been rejected and 136 have been fully approved. One was partially approved and one was changed to correct an earlier error. One older request was withdrawn, as it was not needed.
The explicit changes can be analyzed as follows:
- 4 simple retirements;
- 12 split languages, resulting in 34 new language code elements (a net gain of 22).
- Completely new languages: 81 newly created languages not previously associated with another language in the code set: 24 living languages and 57 extinct languages.
- 38 name updates, either change to a name form or addition of a name form;
- 3 denotation updates of a language into which another variety was merged;
- 1 correction to a request in error last year: the code retired last year has been reactivated while the code retained last year has been retired
- 1 type update where a language was declared extinct
A report of the 2012 series of changes is available. Remaining changes will be summarized in an addendum. All past change requests are retained permanently on this website. A past change request may be found through its change request number, as in http://www.sil.org/iso639-3/chg_detail.asp?id=2006-001 or through the documentation page of an affected code element, as in http://www.sil.org/iso639-3/documentation.asp?id=bvs. See also information about code set management and the change process.
The history of any change request may be viewed on its documentation page of the pattern:
Likewise, the history of any code element may be viewed on its documentation page of the pattern:
Change Requests for the 2013 cycle are now being accepted. Submit Change Request forms by email to the Registration Authority at .
ISO 639-3 is a code that aims to define three-letter identifiers for all known human languages. At the core of ISO 639-3 are the individual languages already accounted for in ISO 639-2. The large number of living languages in the initial inventory of ISO 639-3 beyond those already included in ISO 639-2 was derived primarily from Ethnologue (15th edition). Additional extinct, ancient, historic, and constructed languages have been obtained from Linguist List.
SIL International has been designated as the ISO 639-3/RA for the purpose of processing requests for alpha-3 language codes comprising the International Standard, Codes for the representation of names of languages - Part 3: Alpha-3 code for comprehensive coverage of languages. The ISO 639-3/RA receives and reviews applications for requesting new language codes and for the change of existing ones according to criteria indicated in the standard. It maintains an accurate list of information associated with registered language codes which can be viewed on or downloaded from this website, and processes updates of registered language codes. Notification of pending and adopted updates are also distributed on a regular basis to subscribers and other parties.
ISO 639-3 Registrar
7500 W. Camp Wisdom Rd.
Dallas, TX 75236
Phone: +1 972 708 7575