Proposal:Language Purpose

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language purpose
Proposal status: Draft (under way)
Proposed by: Hlv
Tagging: language:purpose:iso_code=yes / no / (others)

Draft started: 2019-11-14

Current status

While there is already a language key, this seems to have quite a limited use. Currently, its use is only specified for language schools. Also, I think that the current syntax is quite simplistic. For example,


means German is taught as the main (foreign?) language, but it is not obvious whether the German language (subject) is only taught using German (as language in which the teachers communicate) or not.


I think that the language tag would be useful to characterize many various amenities, as for example: hotels, shops, museums, galleries, information offices and boards, restaurants, cafes, vending machines, and others; especially in cases when the "standard" language (spoken at that place) is not the single choice available. Note that there are many bilingual areas in the world, where it is even difficult to expect clearly a single language to be spoken, and these areas will mostly have ill defined bounds. Therefore, it seems useful to add a tag which would specify case-by-case the used languages.

For example:

  • In a hotel, restaurant or cafe, it may be useful to know in advance whether a given language is used, and how (see table below).
  • In a tourist monument, guided tours may be available in several languages. Even if a given language is not spoken by the guides, there may be written "foreign"-language descriptions of the rooms / buildings / objects etc., or brochures in the non-local language available.
  • A shop / supermarket may have sales assistants and /or automatic cash registers mastering more than one language.
  • Maps / information boards / guideposts may use several languages.
  • In a gallery, the art objects may have descriptions in more than the expected (local - "default") language.
  • A car / boat / bicycle rental office may have salespeople able to communicate in various languages.

These uses cannot be, in my opinion, sufficiently described by the current simple syntax

 language:"iso" = <value>

Instead, I propose to add another specifier in the format:

 language:<purpose>:"iso" = <value>

with some suggested values for the following purposes:

Purpose Description
all All purposes reasonably applicable for the specific type of amenity
audioguides Audio guides are available with voice explanations in the given language
brochures Brochures in that language are available, for example for self-guided tours in a monument
descriptions Written information on an information board / map / art objects etc. in the given language
guides Language spoken by a part of guides in a monument with guided tours
inscriptions The inscription(s) on a memorial, plaque, etc. use that language
menu A printed menu in a restaurant / cafe / bar / pub etc.
panel The button / touch panel of a vending machine is able to use that language
physicians The physician(s) in the doctors office, clinic, or hospital are able to communicate in the given language
reception The personnel in the hotel or other accommodation is able to use that language
sales Language which can be reliably expected to be spoken in a shop / sales point / rental office to communicate with the salesperson / cashier (and perhaps also in a tourist information office, even if they "sell the information for free")
self-checkout The self-checkout machine uses the specified language (most often on the touchscreen)
taught A language taught as subject in a language school
teaching Language used for teaching
waiters One can expect waiters in the restaurant / cafe / bar / pub etc. to communicate in that language
worship The language is regularly used for services in the place of worship

As for the values, "yes" and "no" are obvious options. I can also think of the value "limited" but it seems not easy to define generally what it would mean.


Please comment on the discussion page.