Re: Flags and Language icons (was: Re: Official ISO 3166

From: Michael Everson (
Date: Thu Dec 02 1999 - 10:15:27 EST

Ar 13:10 -0800 1999-12-01, scríobh John Hudson:
>At 12:58 PM 01-12-99 -0800, Franko Luin wrote:
>>Esperanto has its own flag, too, but using language codes is a much better
>>idea. Even if small flags can be a nice decoration on an otherwise dull
>I quite like the 'little portraits of famous poets' idea, but who is the
>most renowned Esperanto poet? And would you recognise his picture?

I made a keyboard layout icon for Esperanto which had a large Z wearing
glasses, reminiscent of Zamenhof. I think I changed this to a green star
later (I've forgotten).

Apple has long used flags in the keyboard menu to show what keyboard is
active. Interestingly, for some localizations a blue diamond is used
instead of the US flag even though the driver is identical. They started
doing this years ago, probably because some Chinese, Arabic, and (at that
time) Russian software users might have objected to the US icon.

When we were developing keyboard icons for Celtic languages, we used the
Welsh flag and Breton flag, but for Irish Gaelic we chose the shamrock
(since Irish is spoken in two jurisdictions and flags can be provocative)
and for Irish Gaelic we chose the thistle (because it's a plant like the
shamrock and the languages are closely related). Of course the keyboard
icon for Ogham is an Ogham stone...

Michael Everson * Everson Gunn Teoranta *
15 Port Chaeimhghein Íochtarach; Baile Átha Cliath 2; Éire/Ireland
Vox +353 1 478 2597 ** Fax +353 1 478 2597 ** Mob +353 86 807 9169
27 Páirc an Fhéithlinn; Baile an Bhóthair; Co. Átha Cliath; Éire

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