Usually on SC we use two-letter ISO codes for languages. There are some exceptions:
- For Sanskrit, we use
sa, as there are lots of things in Pali/Sanskrit that start with sa-, so it’s not very convenient.
- For Chinese, we adopted the classical Chinese language code of
lzhfor ancient texts, using
zhfor modern Chinese.
It seems prudent to follow the same practice for Tibetan, and use the classical code
xct for the ancient texts. While we don’t have any modern Tibetan translations, it is fairly likely that we will at some stage. The Dalai Lama has requested that the Pali canon be translated into Tibetan. Thus we should reserve
bo for modern translations.
When it comes to the more obscure languages, most of them have only three-letter codes:
pra for prakrit,
pgd for Gandhari, etc.
Thus almost all our ancient texts will use three-letter codes anyway, so why not make it a rule? We can adopt
pli for pali, and use the correct
san for Sanskrit. This will give us a handy way of distinguishing ancient and modern languages, as, so far at least, all our modern languages use two-letter codes.
The full list of ancient languages will be as follows.