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Locale for NLS

Overview of Locale Concepts for NLS

A locale reflects the language, local conventions such as data formatting, and culture for a geographical region. Local conventions might include specific formatting rules for dates, times, and numbers and a currency symbol for the country or region. Collating sequence, paper size, postal addresses, and telephone numbers can also be included in locale.

Dates have many representations, depending on the conventions that are accepted in a culture. The month might be represented as a number or as a name. The name might be fully spelled or abbreviated. The order of the month, day, and year might differ according to locale.

For example, "the third day of October in the year 2002" would be displayed in a different way for each of these locales:









United States


Time can be represented in one English-speaking country or region by using the 12-hour notation, while other English speakers expect time values to be formatted using the 24-hour notation.

Language is part of a locale, but is not unique to any one locale. For example, Portuguese is spoken in Brazil as well as in Portugal, but the cultures are different. In Brazil and in Portugal, there are similarities in the formatting of data. Numbers are formatted using a comma (,) to separate integers from fractional values and a dot (.) to separate groups of digits to the left of the radix character. However, there are important differences, such as the currency symbols that are used in the two different locales. Portugal uses the Euro and requires the Euro symbol ( [Overview of Locale Concepts for NLS]), while Brazil uses the Real which is represented by the two-character currency symbol R$.

Additionally, a country might have more than one official language. Canada has two official languages: English and French; two values can be specified for the LOCALE= system option: English_Canada and French_Canada.

Numbers, including currency, can have different representations. For example, the decimal separator, or radix character, is a dot (.) in some regions and a comma (,) in others, while the thousands separator can be a dot, comma, or even a space. Monetary conventions likewise vary between locales; for example, a dollar sign or a yen sign might be attached to a monetary value.

Paper size and measurement are also locale considerations. Standard paper sizes include letter (8-1/2-by-11-inch paper) and A4 (210-by-297-millimeter paper). The letter paper size is mainly used by some English-speaking countries; A4 is used by most other locales. While most locales use centimeters, some locales use inches.

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