Re: OT (Kind of): Determining whether Locales are left-to-right or right-to-left.

From: Michael \(michka\) Kaplan (
Date: Wed Dec 06 2000 - 13:37:45 EST

From: "David Tooke" <>

> I noticed from that list that there are quite a few languages that do not
> have 2 character ISO 639 codes.
> Balti Baluchi Berber Hausa Karaite Kurmanji Luri Mazanderani
> Moplah
> Pulaar Siraiki (also known as Saraiki or Lahnda or Western Panjabi)
> Sulu
> Is it true that one would not be able set their browser locales to these
> languages as it appears ISO 639 is a pre-requisite for this?

I do not think that is universally true, no.

> plus...
> dumb question 1. Is Aramaic (which doesn't seem to have a 2 character ISO
> code) the same as Amharic (which does...AM)? If not, Amharic appears to
> a Semetic language too, is that written right-to-left too?

Amharic uses the Ethiopic script, and is not RTL as far a I know. Aramaic
has no native speakers (unless you count Hugh Nibley, who reportedly wigged
out during a class one day and started lecturing in Aramaic -- witnessed by
two people I know among the 50+ in the class!).... so while you may have
Aramaic content, you probably would not have you machine set to use it as a
locale. :-)

> dumb question 2. Are there an known cases where the full locale name
> (language+country+variant) has a different directionality as for the root
> language? I know that some languages are written in different scripts
> based on the locale; are there any cases where there are a two scripts
> have the same language code in their locale but differ in their writing
> direction?

Well, there are some languages in the former Soviet Union that are
considering an Arabic script either instead of or in addition to existing
Latin/Cyrillic scripts. Not sure if any have been officially adopted?

BTW - I try not answer stupid questions, so you can assume I disagree with
your characterization since I answered them. :-)


Michael Kaplan
Trigeminal Software, Inc.

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