Identifying correct language codes

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Identifying correct language codes thread
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I’m wondering if anyone has a go-to resource for identifying correct language codes. I’ve been pointed to ISO codes on Wikipedia ( we use list 1? 2? 3?), the IANA list (, and, from Daisy’s knowledge base, BCP47 ( which I don’t really understand and can’t seem to access.


APLN Moderator

Hi krollans,

Apologies about the delayed response! Please see the latest APLN article that addresses your questions about ISO 639 codes:

If you have any follow up questions, please feel free to ask!


So, is it correct that you could use any of the code lists of ISO 639 (linked in the article Are there any differences between them?

APLN Moderator

The later code set releases mostly include 3-letter codes for more languages and specific language groups that were not covered in previous releases. You can think of each subsequent code list as an additional set to the original code list release.

Yes, you can use any of the code lists, but a reading system might not support 3-letter codes of lesser known languages. Most reading systems support major languages only, and those usually have 2-letter codes.

I’d recommend using the 639-3 site, which has a table that includes code lists 1-5 and is filterable:


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