The language codes are three-character lowercase alphabetic strings usually based on the first three letters of the English form or, in some cases, vernacular of the corresponding language name.  The codes are varied where necessary to resolve conflicts and are not intended to be abbreviations of a language name.  In the case of modern and older forms of some languages, the initial letters of each part of the language name are used to form the code, e.g., gmh for German, Middle High, and goh for German, Old High.  When the name of a language is changed in the list, the original code is generally retained.

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MARC Code List for Languages:  Contents