Why is there no "Euro English" locale?

I used to use the somewhat whimsical en_DK.UTF-8 locale when installing a new system because that would produce (roughly) the locale results I wanted, even though I am not in Denmark.

  • Measurements metric
  • Sensible date and time formats, but day and month names in English
    • 24-hour time format
    • Work week starts on Monday
    • Numeric date in (something at least resembling) ISO format, yyyy-mm-dd
    • Informal date is dd/mm, not the other way around
  • A4 paper size
  • Euro currency
  • System messages in English

Alas, Ubuntu and Debian no longer seem to support the en_DK locale. I have been thinking there should be something like en_EU for “Euro English”.

Every place I have worked has had this sort of requirement — the official language of the organization is English, but we want continental European defaults for everything else.

I am imagining I am not the first person to think that a “location agnostic” English locale would benefit both me personally and the organizations I work for. So why does it not exist, and where do I look for further discussions and rationale?

… Or should I go ahead and propose it? To whom?

Asked By: tripleee


en_IE.UTF-8 English (Ireland) locale has nearly all the things you’re asking for:

  • Measurements metric — yes
  • 24-hour time format — yes
  • Work week starts on Monday — yes
  • Numeric date in (something at least resembling) ISO format, yyyy-mm-dd
    no, it this locale it’s dd/mm/yy. But that seems close enough to what you’re used to
  • Informal date is dd/mm, not the other way around — yes
  • A4 paper size — yes
  • Euro currency — yes
  • System messages in English — yes

I’m actually using this locale, even though I’m in Amsterdam, as there is no English (Paneuropean) locale that I know of.

BTW. don’t make the mistake of selecting the ga_IE.UTF-8 Irish (Ireland) locale, as it’s Irish Gaelic language.

Answered By: vartec

Actually, I believe there is a locale that fits your requirements better than en_IE. It’s unofficial, but it is en_SE.UTF-8. That is a link which points to the locale file.

It basically copies sv-SE, which should get you everything you want (though I haven’t double-checked), but gives you English system messages, menus, etc. I have used it before and it has worked very well for me in practice despite the caveats in the comment block at the top of the file.

To install:

  1. download so that the locale file is accessible as /usr/share/i18n/locales/en_SE
  2. run sudo localedef -i en_SE -f UTF-8 en_SE.UTF-8
  3. add to /var/lib/locales/supported.d/local the line en_SE.UTF-8 UTF-8 (might be different based on distribution; Debian Squeeze/6.0 seems to be happy with /etc/locale.gen)
  4. run sudo locale-gen
  5. set your system or account default locale to en_SE.UTF-8 (for example, through /etc/default/locale on Debian-like systems)
  6. reboot, or log off and back on, to activate the new locale
Answered By: user

This is why you use different locale for different things.

In my case I mix en_GB and sv_SE to get what I need and it looks like this:

$> locale

But you would probably replace sv_SE with dk_DK.

And to get € use the LC_MONETARY=en_IE.UTF-8

I then save my config as a lot of exports in ~/.profile

export LC_MONETARY="en_IE.UTF-8"

This will give you the opportunity to pick the “correct” things from different areas.

Answered By: Johan

(a) An entity known as the Unicode Common Locale Data Repository seems to be the place that handles locales. The glibc wiki indicates that they will follow CLDR.

(b) They have a locale known as “en_150” which seems to be intended to do what you want. I’m not sure glibc has implemented it yet. There’s also a similar locale known as en_BE which is identical to en_150 except that it has regional coverage of BE rather than worldwide.

Answered By: snakeroot

The en_DK locale doesn’t really have anything to do with Denmark except for its name. It was originally created by someone who wanted the same thing as requested here – a reasonable set of defaults for an English speaker in Europe. The name “en_DK” is sort of a joke – all locale names at that time were composed of a language code and a country code (there were no continent codes or anything else in the second position), and for whatever reason Denmark was chosen as the placeholder country code. (… and has probably caused more than one mystified person since then to research the proportion of people in Denmark whose first language is English. 🙂 )

Answered By: David

I use en_IE@euro ISO-8859-15

$ export LC_MONETARY= "en_IE@euro ISO-8859-15" 

… but I’m not exactly sure about measurements, considering using nl_NL.UTF-8 or nl_BE.UTF-8, the only issue I have with that is once I allow for such a library other apps might end up using it as reference for local lib and again start to download apps and service in dutch or even german.

winetricks drove me up the wall last night with vcrun6 even after changing the locale-gen removing any hint of German lib it still kept downloading a german version of redistributablec++, eventually did it manually, completely by launching the exe with wine.

Unbelievably I’m here again over the same issue; this time it’s APT and the local Belgian repo hell bent on editing my locale config, it can’t because I edited the permissions so instead I just get error complaints:

Fetched 207 kB in 0s (1381 kB/s)
perl: warning: Setting locale failed.
perl: warning: Please check that your locale settings:
    LANGUAGE = "en",
    LC_ALL = (unset),
    LC_TIME = "nl_BE.UTF-8",
    LC_MONETARY = "en_IE@euro ISO-8859-15",
    LC_ADDRESS = "nl_BE.UTF-8",
    LC_TELEPHONE = "nl_BE.UTF-8",
    LC_MESSAGES = "en_IE.UTF-8",
    LC_NAME = "en_IE.UTF-8",
    LC_NUMERIC = "nl_BE.UTF-8",
    LC_PAPER = "en_IE.UTF-8",
    LANG = "en_US.UTF-8"
    are supported and installed on your system.
perl: warning: Falling back to a fallback locale ("en_US.UTF-8").
locale: Cannot set LC_ALL to default locale: No such file or directory 

No compromise, all or nothing .. the only other solution would be to change repo I guess but I’ll never be completely trouble free since the keyboard is an AZERTY and by law it only does French of Belgian Dutch …. :'(

Answered By: marxengels02

See https://github.com/PanderMusubi/locale-en-nl for a proper English locale for the Netherlands, which is not possible to set by remixing existing locales by their LC_ environment settings.

Answered By: user10653206

Many answers here mix language and region, with are not to be mixed. en_US means the American English variant, just as en_IE means the Irish English variant. It is perfectly fine to live in Hungary and use American English as a language.

The regional specifics are set with the other variables of locale, like LC_TIME, LC_MONETARY, etc.

For the lazy, and where language matches country, one can of course use LANG or LC_ALL to make the setting quicker.

There are some tries to have international English language and region, like en_001, en_150, but that is all broken. The language is not really defined (or, it is just en_US), and the regional settings do not try to get unambiguous. To give just two examples: these international English locale attempts still have comma as thousands separator, instead of using an unambiguous thin space or Arabic thousands separator (single quote), they still have traditional quotes and double quotes instead of open and close like Asian quotes or guillemets (「 」, « »).

Answered By: soloturn
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