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> ISO 639 provides two sets of language codes, one as a two-letter code set (639-1) and another as a three-letter code set (this part of ISO 639) for the representation of names of languages. ISO 639-1 was devised primarily for use in terminology, lexicography and linguistics. This part of ISO 639 represents all languages contained in ISO 639-1 and in addition any other language as well as language groups as they may be coded for special purposes when more specificity in coding is needed. The languages listed in ISO 639-1 are a subset of the languages listed in ISO 639-2; every language code in the two-letter code set has a corresponding language code in the alpha-3 list, but not necessarily vice versa.
> Both code lists are to be considered as open lists. The codes were devised for use in terminology, lexicography, information and documentation (i.e. for libraries, information services, and publishers) and linguistics. This part of ISO 639 also includes guidelines for the creation of language codes and their use in some applications.