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  1. use Locale::Language;
  2. $lang = code2language('en'); # $lang gets 'English'
  3. $code = language2code('French'); # $code gets 'fr'
  4. @codes = all_language_codes();
  5. @names = all_language_names();


The Locale::Language module provides access to the ISO two-letter codes for identifying languages, as defined in ISO 639. You can either access the codes via the conversion routines (described below), or via the two functions which return lists of all language codes or all language names.


There are two conversion routines: code2language() and language2code() .

  • code2language()

    This function takes a two letter language code and returns a string which contains the name of the language identified. If the code is not a valid language code, as defined by ISO 639, then undef will be returned.

    1. $lang = code2language($code);
  • language2code()

    This function takes a language name and returns the corresponding two letter language code, if such exists. If the argument could not be identified as a language name, then undef will be returned.

    1. $code = language2code('French');

    The case of the language name is not important. See the section KNOWN BUGS AND LIMITATIONS below.


There are two function which can be used to obtain a list of all language codes, or all language names:

  • all_language_codes()

    Returns a list of all two-letter language codes. The codes are guaranteed to be all lower-case, and not in any particular order.

  • all_language_names()

    Returns a list of all language names for which there is a corresponding two-letter language code. The names are capitalised, and not returned in any particular order.


The following example illustrates use of the code2language() function. The user is prompted for a language code, and then told the corresponding language name:

  1. $| = 1; # turn off buffering
  2. print "Enter language code: ";
  3. chop($code = <STDIN>);
  4. $lang = code2language($code);
  5. if (defined $lang)
  6. {
  7. print "$code = $lang\n";
  8. }
  9. else
  10. {
  11. print "'$code' is not a valid language code!\n";
  12. }


  • In the current implementation, all data is read in when the module is loaded, and then held in memory. A lazy implementation would be more memory friendly.

  • Currently just supports the two letter language codes - there are also three-letter codes, and numbers. Would these be of any use to anyone?


  • Locale::Country

    ISO codes for identification of country (ISO 3166). Supports 2-letter, 3-letter, and numeric country codes.

  • Locale::Script

    ISO codes for identification of written scripts (ISO 15924).

  • Locale::Currency

    ISO three letter codes for identification of currencies and funds (ISO 4217).

  • ISO 639:1988 (E/F)

    Code for the representation of names of languages.


    Home page for ISO 639-2.


Neil Bowers <>


Copyright (C) 2002-2004, Neil Bowers.

Copyright (c) 1997-2001 Canon Research Centre Europe (CRE).

This module is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as Perl itself.