Multilingual Linked Open Data Patterns

Labels without language tag


Apart of language-tagged labels, one can also associate plain labels without a language tag.


This pattern emerges as a practical advice to facilitate SPARQL queries over multilingual linked data.


Using a language without language tag, the previous example can be expressed as:

:juan :position "Professor"@en . 
:juan :position "CatedrĂ¡tico"@es .
:juan  :position  "Professor" .



Using this pattern SPARQL queries do not need to be aware of the multilingualism of the :position property and can obtain a result.

Although this practice facilitates SPARQL queries, it is controversial and can be also considered to be an anti-pattern.

For instance, in which language should the literal without language tag be written? That would depend on the language spoken by the majority of the linked data users. In most cases it could be English but in other contexts it could be quite a different language.

See also

The use of labels without language tags has been proposed by Richard Cyganiak.

This pattern can be associated with the language in URI pattern, so that there is a hint on what is the default language of a dataset.

It is possible to make assertions about the language of a whole dataset using the lexvo:language property which we also describe in the Add linguistic metadata pattern.