RE: Emoji: National Flag Symbols

From: Phillips, Addison (
Date: Tue Dec 23 2008 - 00:21:52 CST

> If these things are indeed intended to indicate
> language/locale then perhaps UTC should map them to a
> generic FLAG character plus a plane 14 language tag.

That is altogether not the idea, I think. FWIW, locale identification is more granular than mere national boundaries anyway.

> For "English" I'd prefer to see something like a half US half UK
> flag.
> Few websites offer a choice between US and UK English and the
> differences rarely matter.

Speak for yourself :-). Plenty of websites are utterly different between these two flavours. The choice depends on your application. The problem is that "English" is often a "good enough" distinction (and often enough not one---if you really mean "tax rate", "shipping center", or "content DRM" rather than "what language is it").

> Otherwise you eventually need Indian English, Australian English,
> Jamaican English etc.

The problem here always being the tension between mere translation and actual content adaptation. The news in India and Australia are as different as night and day, whereas a site selling widgets probably has less need to differentiate.

> Even if these 10 are/were intended as common language/locale
> symbols
> a) there will inevitably be a demand for symbols to cover
> additional
> languages/locales.
> b) people inevitably use them as national symbols.

It is a common problem. Flags generally are not the right way to select content, unless that content really is tied to a specific market/nation/region (which is, in fact, a real requirement sometimes). See, for example:



Addison Phillips
Globalization Architect -- Lab126

Internationalization is not a feature.
It is an architecture.

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