PHP Snippet – Accept-Language HTTP header, Browser Settings, Native Language and PHP Parsing Of $SERVER[‘HTTP_ACCEPT_LANGUAGE’]

One of the header being sent in a request done by standard (new-age) browsers is the Accept-Language, which derive from the definition of the languages-settings in the browser, its quite reliable, usually used to specify what your preferred language should be, in-case the target page support multi-lingual content,
its also used in Google-Translate, while browsing a language different from your own set.

most common is the ‘en’, ‘en-US’ and ‘en_US’, those do not have actual difference, unless the user have installed a specific MUI of Windows, or a non-default versions of Chrome or Firefox, those en* “default” will be send.

Both Firefox and Chrome (and Chrome based-on) browsers will also support regional/different language builds, which other then provide native-language front, will also alter the sent requests to specify that the currently used language is “more important” then the other (usually the en will still be sent).
the quality of “stronger” vs. “weaker” measured by the q=___ added to each of the languages reported.

for example my Google-Chrome browser, will send ‘English’ and also ‘Hebrew’:

On Google Chrome, I’ve navigated to chrome://settings/languages page,
and set those values (in that order..)


As can be seen, the evaluation is same as in the request, the higher the number, the higher the priority.

On client-side, many statistics-collecting products such as Google-Analytics will use the very same value (derived from browser’s settings) by accessing navigator.language value (or window.navigator.userLanguage on IE)

On server-side PHP, do the same by accessing $SERVER['HTTP_ACCEPT_LANGUAGE'] and parsing the string for example: en,en-US;q=0.8,he;q=0.6 into something useful, probably an array that is ordered by the q= value,

although as a rule-of-thumb this is not really necessary, since the standard is to send the first-used language first, simply cut out the first cell and return it.

the following also provides a fallback.

$languages_header = isset($_SERVER['HTTP_ACCEPT_LANGUAGE']) ? $_SERVER['HTTP_ACCEPT_LANGUAGE'] : 'en_US';
$languages_header = explode(',', $languages_header);
echo $languages_header[0]

I did made a small collection of supported languages, there is three formats that are being used as part of the i18n standard.

  1. regional underscore – en_US
  2. regional hyphen – en-US
  3. non regional – en (…Note that I’ve made those names.. so don’t try Google it around..)

the following list might come-in handy, since group [1] and [2] (regional) provided more information, the list is sorted a-z, in those 3 groups (in the order above, first is regional underscore, regional hyphen then non regional)

I’m using the PHP’s array format..

$languages_supported = array('af_ZA', 'ar_AE', 'ar_BH', 'ar_DZ', 'ar_EG', 'ar_IQ', 'ar_JO', 'ar_KW', 'ar_LB', 'ar_LY', 'ar_MA', 'ar_OM', 'ar_QA', 'ar_SA', 'ar_SY', 'ar_TN', 'ar_YE', 'az_AZ', 'az_IR', 'be_BY', 'bg_BG', 'bn_BD', 'bn_IN', 'bs_BA', 'ca_AD', 'ca_ES', 'ca_FR', 'ca_IT', 'cs_CZ', 'cy_GB', 'da_dk', 'da_DK', 'de_at', 'de_AT', 'de_ch', 'de_CH', 'de_de', 'de_DE', 'de_LI', 'de_LU', 'dv_MV', 'el_gr', 'el_GR', 'en_au', 'en_AU', 'en_BZ', 'en_ca', 'en_CA', 'en_CB', 'en_gb', 'en_GB', 'en_IE', 'en_in', 'en_JM', 'en_NZ', 'en_PH', 'en_sg', 'en_TT', 'en_us', 'en_US', 'en_ZA', 'en_ZW', 'es_419', 'es_ar', 'es_AR', 'es_BO', 'es_cl', 'es_CL', 'es_CO', 'es_CR', 'es_DO', 'es_EC', 'es_es', 'es_ES', 'es_GT', 'es_HN', 'es_LA', 'es_mx', 'es_MX', 'es_NI', 'es_PA', 'es_pe', 'es_PE', 'es_PR', 'es_PY', 'es_SV', 'es_UY', 'es_VE', 'et_EE', 'eu_ES', 'fa_AF', 'fa_IR', 'fi_fi', 'fi_FI', 'fo_FO', 'fr_BE', 'fr_CA', 'fr_CH', 'fr_fr', 'fr_FR', 'fr_FX', 'fr_LU', 'fr_MC', 'fy_NL', 'gl_ES', 'gu_IN', 'he_il', 'he_IL', 'hi_IN', 'hr_BA', 'hr_HR', 'hu_hu', 'hu_HU', 'hy_AM', 'id_ID', 'is_IS', 'it_CH', 'it_it', 'it_IT', 'ja_jp', 'ja_JP', 'jv_ID', 'ka_GE', 'kk_KZ', 'km_KH', 'kn_IN', 'ko_kr', 'ko_KR', 'kok_IN', 'ky_KG', 'lt_LT', 'lv_LV', 'mi_NZ', 'mk_MK', 'ml_IN', 'mn_MN', 'mr_IN', 'mr_MR', 'ms_BN', 'ms_MY', 'mt_MT', 'my_MM', 'nb_NO', 'nl_BE', 'nl_nl', 'nl_NL', 'nn_NO', 'no_NO', 'ns_ZA', 'pa_IN', 'pl_pl', 'pl_PL', 'ps_AR', 'pt_br', 'pt_BR', 'pt_pt', 'pt_PT', 'qu_BO', 'qu_EC', 'qu_PE', 'ro_RO', 'ru_ru', 'ru_RU', 'ru_UA', 'sa_IN', 'se_FI', 'se_NO', 'se_SE', 'si_LK', 'sk_SK', 'sl_SI', 'sq_AL', 'sr_BA', 'sr_SP', 'sr_YU', 'su_ID', 'sv_FI', 'sv_se', 'sv_SE', 'sw_KE', 'syr_SY', 'ta_IN', 'ta_LK', 'te_IN', 'th_th', 'th_TH', 'tl_PH', 'tn_ZA', 'to_ID', 'tr_tr', 'tr_TR', 'tt_RU', 'ug_CN', 'uk_UA', 'ur_PK', 'uz_UZ', 'vi_VI', 'vi_VN', 'xh_ZA', 'zh_cn', 'zh_CN', 'zh_hk', 'zh_HK', 'zh_MO', 'zh_SG', 'zh_tw', 'zh_TW', 'zu_ZA', 'af-ZA', 'ar-AE', 'ar-BH', 'ar-DZ', 'ar-EG', 'ar-IQ', 'ar-JO', 'ar-KW', 'ar-LB', 'ar-LY', 'ar-MA', 'ar-OM', 'ar-QA', 'ar-SA', 'ar-SY', 'ar-TN', 'ar-YE', 'az-AZ', 'be-BY', 'bg-BG', 'bs-BA', 'ca-ES', 'cs-CZ', 'cy-GB', 'da-dk', 'da-DK', 'de-at', 'de-AT', 'de-ch', 'de-CH', 'de-de', 'de-DE', 'de-LI', 'de-LU', 'dv-MV', 'el-gr', 'el-GR', 'en-au', 'en-AU', 'en-BZ', 'en-ca', 'en-CA', 'en-CB', 'en-gb', 'en-GB', 'en-IE', 'en-in', 'en-JM', 'en-NZ', 'en-PH', 'en-sg', 'en-TT', 'en-us', 'en-US', 'en-ZA', 'en-ZW', 'es-419', 'es-ar', 'es-AR', 'es-BO', 'es-cl', 'es-CL', 'es-CO', 'es-CR', 'es-DO', 'es-EC', 'es-es', 'es-ES', 'es-GT', 'es-HN', 'es-mx', 'es-MX', 'es-NI', 'es-PA', 'es-pe', 'es-PE', 'es-PR', 'es-PY', 'es-SV', 'es-UY', 'es-VE', 'et-EE', 'eu-ES', 'fa-IR', 'fi-fi', 'fi-FI', 'fo-FO', 'fr-BE', 'fr-CA', 'fr-CH', 'fr-fr', 'fr-FR', 'fr-LU', 'fr-MC', 'gl-ES', 'gu-IN', 'he-il', 'he-IL', 'hi-IN', 'hr-BA', 'hr-HR', 'hu-hu', 'hu-HU', 'hy-AM', 'id-ID', 'is-IS', 'it-CH', 'it-it', 'it-IT', 'ja-jp', 'ja-JP', 'ka-GE', 'kk-KZ', 'kn-IN', 'kok-IN', 'ko-kr', 'ko-KR', 'ky-KG', 'lt-LT', 'lv-LV', 'mi-NZ', 'mk-MK', 'mn-MN', 'mr-IN', 'ms-BN', 'ms-MY', 'mt-MT', 'nb-NO', 'nl-BE', 'nl-nl', 'nl-NL', 'nn-NO', 'ns-ZA', 'pa-IN', 'pl-pl', 'pl-PL', 'ps-AR', 'pt-br', 'pt-BR', 'pt-pt', 'pt-PT', 'qu-BO', 'qu-EC', 'qu-PE', 'ro-RO', 'ru-ru', 'ru-RU', 'sa-IN', 'se-FI', 'se-NO', 'se-SE', 'sk-SK', 'sl-SI', 'sq-AL', 'sr-BA', 'sr-SP', 'sv-FI', 'sv-se', 'sv-SE', 'sw-KE', 'syr-SY', 'ta-IN', 'te-IN', 'th-th', 'th-TH', 'tl-PH', 'tn-ZA', 'tr-tr', 'tr-TR', 'tt-RU', 'uk-UA', 'ur-PK', 'uz-UZ', 'vi-VN', 'xh-ZA', 'zh-cn', 'zh-CN', 'zh-hk', 'zh-HK', 'zh-MO', 'zh-SG', 'zh-tw', 'zh-TW', 'zu-ZA', 'ab', 'af', 'am', 'an', 'ang', 'ar', 'as', 'ast', 'ay', 'az', 'be', 'bem', 'bg', 'bi', 'bn', 'bo', 'br', 'bs', 'byn', 'ca', 'co', 'crh', 'cs', 'csb', 'cv', 'cy', 'cz', 'da', 'de', 'dk', 'dv', 'dz', 'el', 'en', 'eo', 'es', 'et', 'eu', 'fa', 'fi', 'fil', 'fo', 'fr', 'frp', 'fur', 'fy', 'ga', 'gd', 'gez', 'gl', 'gn', 'gu', 'gv', 'ha', 'he', 'hi', 'hne', 'hr', 'ht', 'hu', 'hy', 'ia', 'id', 'ig', 'io', 'is', 'it', 'ja', 'jv', 'ka', 'kab', 'kk', 'km', 'kn', 'ko', 'kok', 'ks', 'ku', 'kw', 'ky', 'la', 'lb', 'lg', 'li', 'ln', 'lo', 'lt', 'lv', 'mai', 'mg', 'mi', 'mk', 'ml', 'mn', 'mr', 'ms', 'mt', 'mus', 'my', 'na', 'nb', 'nds', 'ne', 'new', 'ng', 'nl', 'nn', 'no', 'nr', 'ns', 'nso', 'oc', 'or', 'os', 'pa', 'pl', 'pms', 'ps', 'pt', 'qu', 'rm', 'ro', 'ru', 'rw', 'sa', 'sc', 'sd', 'se', 'si', 'sk', 'sl', 'sm', 'so', 'sp', 'sq', 'sr', 'st', 'su', 'sv', 'sw', 'syr', 'ta', 'te', 'tg', 'th', 'ti', 'tig', 'tk', 'tl', 'tlh', 'tn', 'to', 'tr', 'ts', 'tt', 'ug', 'uk', 'ur', 'uz', 've', 'vi', 'wa', 'wal', 'wo', 'xh', 'yi', 'yo', 'zh', 'zu');

Just in-case we would like to break the Accept-Language string, I’ve wrote a nice way of doing it..

$all_languages_eval = array();

foreach($languages_header as $language_header){
  $language_name = preg_replace('/([^;]+);.*$/', '${1}', $language_header); //extract actuall language string

  $language_significance = preg_replace('/^[^q]*q=([^\,]+)*$/', '${1}', $language_header);      //extract evaluation as string
  $language_significance = is_numeric($language_significance) ? floatval($language_significance) : 1.0; //parse evaluation, if no q=__ (first language is like "1"), then we will use 1.0

  $all_languages_eval[ $language_name ] = $language_significance;

array_multisort($all_languages_eval, SORT_DESC , SORT_NATURAL);//SORT_DESC: higher-value is on top (vs. SORT_ASC).


languages without value specification are (by definition) have q=1 (and usually put ahead as the main language to be using).

you’ll be parsing the string into an associative array using ‘language string’ as key, and its proper float-significance as value, then its a matter of applying some array_multisort with SORT_DESC flag to really make usage of the fact we’ve parsed so much…
But Heck! You Can’t Put A Price-Tag On Accuracy!! (well.. actually.. you really can.. nevermind..)

well.. our example from before: en,en-US;q=0.8,he;q=0.6 will be show this output:

naturally you may take the first element’s key name, which is the “higher” value language, which you should be using to determine the user’s language.

to get back just the array of languages ordered by most significant to least $arr = array_keys($all_languages_eval); will output en,en-US,he, for just the string of the first one array_keys($all_languages_eval)[0] its OK to address specific cell since we’ve got fallback to “en”, which is also the native result: en

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