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. The following categories should always be supported: "LC_ALL", "LC_COLLATE", "LC_CTYPE", "LC_MONETARY", "LC_NUMERIC" and "LC_TIME". Some systems will also support "LC_MESSAGES", "LC_PAPER" and "LC_MEASUREMENT".
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.

The first seven categories described here are those specified by POSIX. "LC_MESSAGES" will be "C" on systems that do not support message translation, and is not supported on Windows. Trying to use an unsupported category is an error for Sys.setlocale.

Note that setting "LC_ALL" sets only "LC_COLLATE", "LC_CTYPE", "LC_MONETARY" and "LC_TIME".

Attempts to set an invalid locale are (silently) ignored. (Most OSes give no indication if the request succeeded, and the name of the locale set need bear little resemblance to that asked for.)


A character string of length one describing the locale in use (after setting for Sys.setlocale), or an empty character string if the current locale settings are invalid 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, Linux). 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, but options(OutDec) is often preferable.

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 7: details are OS-dependent
Sys.setlocale("LC_TIME", "de_DE.utf8")  # Modern Linux etc.
Sys.setlocale("LC_TIME", "German") # Windows
## End(Not run)
Sys.getlocale("LC_PAPER")          # may or may not be set

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

[Package base version 2.5.0 Index]