The odds for Simple English obtaining an ISO 639-3 code are zilch, because
these codes are given to languages and Simple English is not a language, at
least not a language separate from English. It's merely a way of speaking
and writing it – just like "difficult English", children's English, broken
English or even Pig Latin are. It doesn't have any rules of its own, no
separate grammar and no separate word stock, all it does is saying: "Try to
write in short sentences and avoid difficult words". You can do the same
thing with any other language as well, which might equally well result in
Simple German, Simple Rhaeto-Romance or Simple Inuktitut.
The only small change would be applying for an ISO code for Ogden's Basic
English, which is generally treated as a constructed language. But that
would be cheating, because the Simple English Wikipedia does not limit
itself to Ogden's word lists, even though it endorses them. Besides, the
ISO registration authority is pretty tough nowadays when it comes to
constructed languages, and I don't think they would accept Basic English.
Jan van Steenbergen
2015-08-25 20:25 GMT+02:00 Oliver Stegen <info(a)oliverstegen.net>et>:
Indeed, that's a problem!
Imho, we'll have to deal with the status of Simple English in general. Any
chance of successfully applying an ISO code for it? Otherwise, we'll run
into more problems like this one
 with new project applications (for example, see Jon Harald's reply
under "arguments in favour").
While Wikipedia <https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basic_English> 
defines Basic English (on which Simple English is based) as constructed
language in its own right, that definition doesn't seem to have been
If push comes to shove, I'd vote for en-simple. I had actually assumed
that that was its encoding used already (based on the URL *simple*.
On 25-Aug-15 7:35 PM, Amir E. Aharoni wrote:
A question for the respected language code experts in the audience.
Apparently, the Simple English Wikipedia uses "en" as its language code in
the HTML lang attribute, etc.
I never noticed it until recently, when it started causing various bugs
with the ContentTranslation extension of which I am a developer. I somehow
assumed that it uses something like "en-simple" without ever checking it,
and that assumption was wrong - it's just "en".
I believe that the code should be different from what is used by the
English Wikipedia, like it is with other wikis in language variants, such
Do you have any suggestions about what code should it be?
Should I register anything new with any standards organization? (If I
recall correctly, this was done for be-tarask?)
Can I reuse any existing code that would be appropriate?
Is it a bad idea in general and it should be just "en"?
(PS: If you're curious what are the issues, see
Amir Elisha Aharoni · אָמִיר אֱלִישָׁע אַהֲרוֹנִי
“We're living in pieces,
I want to live in peace.” – T. Moore
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