6.19 locale -- Internationalization services

The locale module opens access to the POSIX locale database and functionality. The POSIX locale mechanism allows programmers to deal with certain cultural issues in an application, without requiring the programmer to know all the specifics of each country where the software is executed.

The locale module is implemented on top of the _locale module, which in turn uses an ANSI C locale implementation if available.

The locale module defines the following exception and functions:

setlocale (category[, value])
If value is specified, modifies the locale setting for the category. The available categories are listed in the data description below. The value is the name of a locale. An empty string specifies the user's default settings. If the modification of the locale fails, the exception Error is raised. If successful, the new locale setting is returned.

If no value is specified, the current setting for the category is returned.

setlocale() is not thread safe on most systems. Applications typically start with a call of

import locale
This sets the locale for all categories to the user's default setting (typically specified in the $LANG environment variable). If the locale is not changed thereafter, using multithreading should not cause problems.

Exception raised when setlocale() fails.

localeconv ()
Returns the database of of the local conventions as a dictionary. This dictionary has the following strings as keys:

The possible values for p_sign_posn and n_sign_posn are given below.

Value  Explanation 
0 Currency and value are surrounded by parentheses.
1 The sign should precede the value and currency symbol.
2 The sign should follow the value and currency symbol.
3 The sign should immediately precede the value.
4 The sign should immediately follow the value.
LC_MAX Nothing is specified in this locale.

strcoll (string1,string2)
Compares two strings according to the current LC_COLLATE setting. As any other compare function, returns a negative, or a positive value, or 0, depending on whether string1 collates before or after string2 or is equal to it.

strxfrm (string)
Transforms a string to one that can be used for the built-in function cmp(), and still returns locale-aware results. This function can be used when the same string is compared repeatedly, e.g. when collating a sequence of strings.

format (format, val, [grouping = 0])
Formats a number val according to the current LC_NUMERIC setting. The format follows the conventions of the % operator. For floating point values, the decimal point is modified if appropriate. If grouping is true, also takes the grouping into account.

str (float)
Formats a floating point number using the same format as the built-in function str(float), but takes the decimal point into account.

atof (string)
Converts a string to a floating point number, following the LC_NUMERIC settings.

atoi (string)
Converts a string to an integer, following the LC_NUMERIC conventions.

Locale category for the character type functions. Depending on the settings of this category, the functions of module string dealing with case change their behaviour.

Locale category for sorting strings. The functions strcoll() and strxfrm() of the locale module are affected.

Locale category for the formatting of time. The function time.strftime() follows these conventions.

Locale category for formatting of monetary values. The available options are available from the localeconv() function.

Locale category for message display. Python currently does not support application specific locale-aware messages. Messages displayed by the operating system, like those returned by os.strerror() might be affected by this category.

Locale category for formatting numbers. The functions format(), atoi(), atof() and str() of the locale module are affected by that category. All other numeric formatting operations are not affected.

Combination of all locale settings. If this flag is used when the locale is changed, setting the locale for all categories is attempted. If that fails for any category, no category is changed at all. When the locale is retrieved using this flag, a string indicating the setting for all categories is returned. This string can be later used to restore the settings.

This is a symbolic constant used for different values returned by localeconv().


>>> import locale
>>> loc = locale.setlocale(locale.LC_ALL) # get current locale
>>> locale.setlocale(locale.LC_ALL, "de") # use German locale
>>> locale.strcoll("f\344n", "foo") # compare a string containing an umlaut 
>>> locale.setlocale(locale.LC_ALL, "") # use user's preferred locale
>>> locale.setlocale(locale.LC_ALL, "C") # use default (C) locale
>>> locale.setlocale(locale.LC_ALL, loc) # restore saved locale

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