ISO 639-1

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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 October 2015. The registered codes cover the world's major languages.

These codes are a useful international and formal shorthand for indicating languages. For example:

  • Arabic is represented by ar
  • Armenian is represented by hy (from the endonym հայերէն, Hayeren)
  • Chinese is represented by zh (from the endonym 中文, Zhōngwén)
  • Czech is represented by cs (from the endonym česky or čeština)
  • Danish is represented by da
  • Dutch is represented by nl (from the endonym Nederlands)
  • English is represented by en
  • Esperanto is represented by eo
  • Finnish is represented by fi (even though its endonym is suomi)
  • French is represented by fr
  • Georgian is represented by ka (from the endonym ქართული, kartuli)
  • German is represented by de (from the endonym Deutsch)
  • Greek is represented by el (from the endonym ελληνικά, elliniká)
  • Italian is represented by it
  • Japanese is represented by ja (even though its endonym is 日本語, Nihongo)
  • Korean is represented by ko (even though its endonym is transliterated as Hangugeo or Chosŏnmal; see Korean language#Names)
  • Malay is represented by ms (even though its endonym is Bahasa Melayu)
  • Kurdish is represented by ku (from the endonym کوردی‎, Kurdî)
  • Persian is represented by fa (from the endonym فارسی‎, farsi)
  • Polish is represented by pl
  • Portuguese is represented by pt
  • Romanian is represented by ro
  • Russian is represented by ru
  • Spanish is represented by es (from the endonym español)
  • Swedish is represented by sv (from the endonym svenska)
  • Tagalog is represented by tl
  • Turkish is represented by tr
  • Urdu is represented by ur (from the endonym اُردو‎, urdu)

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 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.[1]

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.

ISO 639-1 codes added after RFC publication in January 2001
ISO 639-1ISO 639-2NameDate addedPreviously covered by
iiiiiSichuan Yi2002-10-14sit
hthatHaitian Creole2003-02-26cpf

There is no specification on treatment of macrolanguages (see ISO 639-3).

See also

Other Languages
Alemannisch: ISO 639-1
العربية: أيزو 1-639
asturianu: ISO 639-1
भोजपुरी: आइएसओ 639-1
brezhoneg: ISO 639-1
català: ISO 639-1
čeština: ISO 639-1
dansk: ISO 639-1
Deutsch: ISO 639-1
eesti: ISO 639-1
Ελληνικά: ISO 639-1
español: ISO 639-1
Esperanto: ISO 639-1
euskara: ISO 639-1
føroyskt: ISO 639-1
Gaelg: ISO 639-1
한국어: ISO 639-1
Ilokano: ISO 639-1
বিষ্ণুপ্রিয়া মণিপুরী: আন্তর্জাতিক ঠারর কোড
Bahasa Indonesia: ISO 639-1
italiano: ISO 639-1
Basa Jawa: ISO 639-1
қазақша: ISO 639-1
latviešu: ISO 639-1
lietuvių: ISO 639-1
magyar: ISO 639-1
македонски: ISO 639-1
Bahasa Melayu: ISO 639-1
Mìng-dĕ̤ng-ngṳ̄: ISO 639-1 (Bàng-uâ-cê)
日本語: ISO 639-1
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: ISO 639-1
polski: ISO 639-1
русский: ISO 639-1
Scots: ISO 639-1
српски / srpski: ISO 639-1
தமிழ்: ஐ.எசு.ஓ 639-1
ไทย: ISO 639-1
українська: ISO 639-1
اردو: آیزو 639-1
ئۇيغۇرچە / Uyghurche: ISO 639
Tiếng Việt: ISO 639-1
Yorùbá: ISO 639-1
粵語: ISO 639-1
中文: ISO 639-1