locales {base}R Documentation

Query or Set Aspects of the Locale


Get details of or set aspects of the locale for the R process.


Sys.getlocale(category = "LC_ALL")
Sys.setlocale(category = "LC_ALL", locale = "")


category character string. Must be one of "LC_ALL", "LC_COLLATE", "LC_CTYPE", "LC_MONETARY", "LC_NUMERIC" or "LC_TIME".
locale character string. A valid locale name on the system in use. Normally "" (the default) will pick up the default locale for the system.


The locale describes aspects of the internationalization of a program. Initially most aspects of the locale of R are set to "C" (which is the default for the C language and reflects North-American usage). R sets "LC_CTYPE" and "LC_COLLATE", which allow the use of a different character set and alphabetic comparisons in that character set (including the use of sort), "LC_MONETARY" (for use by Sys.localeconv) and "LC_TIME" may affect the behaviour of as.POSIXlt and strptime and functions which use them (but not date).

R can be built with no support for locales, but it is normally available on Unix and is available on Windows.

Some systems will have other locale categories, but the six described here are those specified by POSIX.

Note that setting "LC_ALL" as from R 2.1.0 sets only "LC_COLLATE", "LC_CTYPE", "LC_MONETARY" and "LC_TIME".


A character string of length one describing the locale in use (after setting for Sys.setlocale), or an empty character string if the locale is invalid (with a warning) or NULL if locale information is unavailable.
For category = "LC_ALL" the details of the string are system-specific: it might be a single locale or a set of locales separated by "/" (Solaris) or ";" (Windows). For portability, it is best to query categories individually. It is guaranteed that the result of foo <- Sys.getlocale() can be used in Sys.setlocale("LC_ALL", locale = foo) on the same machine.


Setting "LC_NUMERIC" may cause R to function anomalously, so gives a warning. (The known problems are with input conversion in locales with , as the decimal point.) Setting it temporarily to produce graphical or text output may work well enough.

See Also

strptime for uses of category = "LC_TIME". Sys.localeconv for details of numerical and monetary representations.


## Not run: 
Sys.setlocale("LC_TIME", "de")     # Solaris: details are OS-dependent
Sys.setlocale("LC_TIME", "German") # Windows
## End(Not run)

Sys.setlocale("LC_COLLATE", "C")  # turn off locale-specific sorting

[Package base version 2.1.0 Index]