language codes : Java Glossary


language codes
Originally, ISO-639.1988 defined two-letter lower case abbreviation codes for each spoken language, e.g. ar = Arabic, en = English, eo = Esperanto.

Now we have two standards:

  1. 2-letter codes with ISO-639-1 e.g. en
  2. 3-letter codes with ISO 639-2 e.g. eng.
Java uses the two-letter codes in lower case.

HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) meta headers such as the following example use either a two letter code such as en or a double barrelled code such as en- gb to specify which dialect, in this case the country code gb for Great Britain — the Queen’s English.

<!-- meta tags to describe the language of the HTML document -->

<!-- English -->
<meta http-equiv="Content-Language" content="en">

<!-- the Queen's English -->
<meta http-equiv="Content-Language" content="en-gb">

<!-- Esperanto -->
<meta http-equiv="Content-Language" content="eo">

Sometimes you will even see a triple to describe a locale language: e.g. sr_ YU_CYR with a variant after the country.

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