Flags and languages
Many languages are spoken in more than one country, and many countries have more than one language. When you forget this you do stuff like language selection menus that use flags to represent languages. This is problematic for several reasons, starting with having to ask yourself what flag you are going to use to represent English, and how to deal with the angry letters you’ll receive when you use the national flag to represent a regional language. So, using flags to represent languages is definitely discouraged.
This said, have a look at this small piece of the KDE l10n stats page:
The funny thing is that the flag you see next to “Galician” is the flag of Greenland. And Galician is not spoken at all in Greenland! So, what happened? Why did they use so wrong a flag?
The problem is that the ISO 639-1 code for the Galician language is “gl”, which is the same as the ISO 3166-1 code for Greenland. So, when choosing the flag for Galician they confused the language code with the country code and selected the flag for “gl”: that is, for Greenland.
(I’m surprised that they used the Ukrainian flag (“ua”) for the Ukrainian language (“uk”), and not the Union Flag. Perhaps that would have been too obvious an error :) – although I have been told by email that the ISO 3166-1 code for the UK is “GB”, not “UK”)
So, my takeaway message is: don’t use flags to represent languages and if you do, make sure you use a flag of a place where the language is actually spoken!
Addendum: I have just seen that Basque is accompanied by the flag of the European Union! That’s because the language’s code is “eu”. Ah, and there are three variants of the Chinese language (Hong-Kong, Simplified and Traditional), all with the flag of the People’s Republic of China. Someone is bound to receive angry email – Taiwan is a political hot potato. I have sent email to the maintainer of the page.