List of all ISO 639-2 language codes
The ISO 639-2 is an international standard that defines the codes used to uniquely represent language names. It employs a three-letter code set and currently supports over 490 languages. This standard was developed as a response to the limitations of the ISO 639-1, which did not cater to the extensive language requirements for bibliographic and terminology purposes. Language codes from ISO 639-2 are designed for use by libraries, information services, and publishers to denote languages during the exchange of information, particularly in computerized systems. Since its inception, the standard has seen multiple revisions and continues to be maintained.
Common applications of these language codes include cataloging in libraries, organizing presentations in information services, ensuring accurate language identification in publishing, aiding in software localization, and acting as a shorthand for longer language names.
The language code table is shown below.
The ISO 639-2 language codes should be considered case-insensitive, but they are typically presented in lowercase.
In the ISO 639-2 standard, most languages use the same code for both terminology and bibliographic purposes. However, 20 languages have different codes. The reason for this difference is that libraries historically used certain naming practices, which are different from the newer naming styles we see today. While older library traditions influence bibliographic codes, the codes used for terminology are more modern, often similar to the ISO 639-1 two-letter codes. To avoid major issues when updating vast numbers of library records worldwide, some languages have alternate codes.
dut – Dutch (Bibliographic)
nld – Dutch (Terminology)
No, ISO 639-1 and ISO 639-2 represent different sets of languages. While ISO 639-1 uses two-letter codes for over 180 languages, ISO 639-2 uses three-letter codes, encompassing more than 490 languages. ISO 639-2 incorporates all the languages from ISO 639-1 and additionally includes a broader array of languages, families, and groups not specified in ISO 639-1. Hence, ISO 639-2 has a more extensive reach.
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