Language Tage "mo" for Moldovan Deprecated


As of November 3, 2008, both the ISO-639 language code mo (Moldovan) and the ISO-639-2 code mol (Moldovan) were deprecated in favor of Romanian.

In other words, the encoding standards authorities have embodied the notion that Moldovan, as spoken in the Republic of Moldavia, is actually so closely related to Romanian that they are both dialects of each other. This has been the stance claimed by the linguistic community and many elements in both the Romanian and Moldovan community.

From now on, the code ro(Romanian) will refer to the language forms used in both the countries of Romania and Moldova. The tags to distinguish linguistic forms in Romania from that of Moldova will be ro-RO (Romanian or Romania) and ro-MD (Romania of Moldavia).

This may seem to be a trivial change, but it's heartening from my point of view. In recent years, there had been a trend in language code assignments to favor political expedience over linguistic reality.

The most similar case was the elimination of the sh for Serbo-Croatian, as spoken in the former Yugoslavia in favor of three "separate" language codes for Serbian (sr), Croatian (hr) and Bosnian (bs). Although there are genuine regional differences between the forms (especially for Croatian), linguists still debate whether these forms are separate languages or dialects.

Although I do not expect the three codes for Serbian, Croatian and Bosnian to be eliminated anytime soon, I do think it's a good sign that speakers in Moldova and Romania were willing to re-evaluate their linguistic identity.

About The Blog

I am a Penn State technology specialist with a degree in linguistics and have maintained the Penn State Computing with Accents page since 2000.

See Elizabeth Pyatt's Homepage ( for a profile.


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