Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Ch'orti', a language spoken in Guatemala and Honduras

Ch'orti' as a language has caa as its ISO 639-3 code, some 30.000 people speak the language and according to Reeck many more belong to the associated ethnic population.

I have been adding languages to the ISO 639-3 collection for some time now, I started with Ghotuo (aaa) and I have now progressed to Ch'orti' (caa). Many have few speakers, many are extinct, several are sign languages and almost all of them I have already forgotten.

So why do this, is there method to this madness.. OmegaWiki aims to include all words of all languages, but what languages are there ? Do we want to discuss the notion of yet another linguistic entity that we should support. Does something like Brithenig (bzt) deserve its place under the sun ?

I do not mind the discussion, but I do mind what the result will be of such a discussion. It needs to come to a conclusion and I do not want to be in the position that people look to me for a verdict. It is not a good idea either to have the OmegaWiki commission be in that position. It is for all these reasons that we decided on adopting standards and started with the creation of portals for the ISO 639-3 languages. We are now at the next phase, creating the DefinedMeanings for these languages and make them part of the ISO 639-3 collection.

This is only what is recognised by one standard, there are other standards that help indicate what the precise linguistic entity is that is to be documented in OmegaWiki. First we should finish this, there are currently 1365 entries in the ISO 639-3 collection .. there are many more thousands to go :)


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