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Globalization Support Features

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Oracle's standard features include:

  • Language Support
  • Territory Support
  • Date and Time Formats
  • Monetary and Numeric Formats
  • Calendars Feature
  • Linguistic Sorting
  • Character Set Support
  • Character Semantics
  • Customization of Locale and Calendar Data
  • Unicode Support
Language Support
The database enables you to store, process, and retrieve data in native languages. The languages that can be stored in a database are all languages written in scripts that are encoded by Oracle-supported character sets. Through the use of Unicode databases and datatypes, the Oracle database supports most contemporary languages.

Additional support is available for a subset of the languages. The database knows, for example, how to display dates using translated month names or how to sort text data according to cultural conventions.

When this manual uses the term language support, it refers to the additional language-dependent functionality (for example, displaying dates or sorting text), not to the ability to store text of a specific language.

For some of the supported languages, Oracle provides translated error messages and a translated user interface of the database utilities.

Territory Support
The database supports cultural conventions that are specific to geographical locations. The default local time format, date format, and numeric and monetary conventions depend on the local territory setting. Setting different NLS parameters allows the database session to use different cultural settings. For example, you can set the euro (EUR) as the primary currency and the Japanese yen (JPY) as the secondary currency for a given database session even when the territory is defined as AMERICA.

Date and Time Formats
Different conventions for displaying the hour, day, month, and year can be handled in local formats. For example, in the United Kingdom, the date is displayed using the DD-MON-YYYY format, while Japan commonly uses the YYYY-MM-DD format. Time zones and daylight saving support are also available.

Monetary and Numeric Formats
Currency, credit, and debit symbols can be represented in local formats. Radix symbols and thousands separators can be defined by locales. For example, in the US, the decimal point is a dot (.), while it is a comma (,) in France. Therefore, the amount $1,234 has different meanings in different countries.

Calendars Feature
Many different calendar systems are in use around the world. Oracle supports seven different calendar systems: Gregorian, Japanese Imperial, ROC Official (Republic of China), Thai Buddha, Persian, English Hijrah, and Arabic Hijrah.

Linguistic Sorting
Oracle provides linguistic definitions for culturally accurate sorting and case conversion. The basic definition treats strings as sequences of independent characters. The extended definition recognizes pairs of characters that should be treated as special cases.

Strings that are converted to upper case or lower case using the basic definition always retain their lengths. Strings converted using the extended definition may become longer or shorter.

Character Set Support
Oracle supports a large number of single-byte, multibyte, and fixed-width encoding schemes that are based on national, international, and vendor-specific standards.

Character Semantics
Oracle provides character semantics. It is useful for defining the storage requirements for multibyte strings of varying widths in terms of characters instead of bytes.

Customization of Locale and Calendar Data
You can customize locale data such as language, character set, territory, or linguistic sort using the Oracle Locale Builder.You can customize calendars with the NLS Calendar Utility.

Unicode Support
You can store Unicode characters in an Oracle database in two ways:

  • You can create a Unicode database that enables you to store UTF-8 encoded characters as SQL CHAR datatypes.
  • You can support multilingual data in specific columns by using Unicode datatypes. You can store Unicode characters into columns of the SQL NCHAR datatypes regardless of how the database character set has been defined. The NCHAR datatype is an exclusively Unicode datatype.

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