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Things you didn’t realize were on the ICANN site: Part 2

It is very inconsiderate of five-sixths of the world to fail to speak English, but then we are reliably informed that they feel pretty much the same way.

And so while the Internet has done an extraordinary job of transcending physical borders, language remains a pretty significant issue if you want to actually communicate with your new online neighbour.

When it comes to ICANN’s work, this comes with an extra layer of complexity thanks to the fact that the vast majority of English speakers wouldn’t know what an English speaker was talking about when discussing many of the topics that concern ICANN on a day-to-day basis.

But we can take it one step higher when it comes to the issue of Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) where the lingo and terminology itself recognizes different languages and the way they function technically and linguistically with one another on the Internet.

So that’s trying to make complex multi-lingual jargon, written in English, accessible in other languages. Don’t ask us how, but a large group of volunteers who understand the importance of IDNs and making the Internet available in people’s own languages, to give them their own Internet, managed to make sense of this and produce a series of IDN Glossaries in Arabic, Chinese, French, Portuguese, Spanish and Russian.

And that is this time’s “Things you didn’t realize were on the ICANN site”. The IDN Glossary page, available at:

More secrets uncovered soon…

Previous novel realizations

Part 1: Virtual bookshelf


    Domain Name System
    Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as"""" is not an IDN."