[Tagging] Which languages are admissible for name:xx tags?

Tod Fitch tod at fitchfamily.org
Wed Mar 25 23:50:01 UTC 2020

> On Mar 25, 2020, at 3:56 PM, Paul Allen <pla16021 at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Wed, 25 Mar 2020 at 22:25, Graeme Fitzpatrick <graemefitz1 at gmail.com <mailto:graemefitz1 at gmail.com>> wrote:
> Is there any reason to actually specify name:en= when English is the Australian language?
> It's not the language of all Australians.  Ayers Rock is now Uluru. So it may be
> sensible, in some cases, to add name:en to allow for future such changes.  I
> probably wouldn't bother because local mappers ought to have an idea if the
> name is English or not.  However, the wiki suggest it's not only permissible,
> it's also desirable: https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Names#Repeating_name_with_language_specific_tag <https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Names#Repeating_name_with_language_specific_tag>
> & how about name:international?
> The wiki doesn't seem to have that, but does have int_name.  Which it doesn't
> explain very clearly but seems to be for cases like IATA airport names.

OSM doesn’t have a way to specify the language used for the name tag
value. If I recall correctly, there was some discussion about how to
do this by setting defaults for administrative areas or some other
bounding polygon a while back but it went nowhere. Part of the issue
is that it is a hard problem once you start considering features
that are on the border of multiple language areas or for any names
in areas that are multilingual. Another suggestion was to create a
new tag that would specify the language of the name tag value thus
providing the missing metadata. That was not received well either.

I attempted to create a multi-lingual map recently and came to the
conclusion that the suggestion in the wiki to repeat the name=* with
name:<lg>=* was the only workable way we have at the moment for a
data consumer to determine what the language used in the name value

Near as I can tell, without this there is no worldwide way to
determine the language of the name tag. When I looked at how the
German map decided to transliterate names I found that they had to
resort to shape definitions embedded in the libraries. Same for the
bilingual Welsh/English map, there is a non-OSM shape definition
embedded in the renderer to help it decide what language is likely
the default for the name tag value.

Duplicating the value into a name:<lg> tag value at least gives a
data consumer a chance to decide how to process the name tag. For
monolingual areas this may seem wasteful but we don’t really have
any other accepted way of doing this at the moment.


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