Configuring inflections

This data will be used in any further example:

YAML

en:
  i18n:
    inflections:

      @person:
        i:          "i"
        u:          "you"
        he:         "he"
        she:        "she"
        it:         "it"
        you:        @u

      gender:
        m:          "male"
        f:          "female"
        n:          "neuter"
        default:    n

  welcome: "Dear @{f:Lady|m:Sir|n:You|All}!"  
  sayit:   "@person{i:I|u:You|he:He|she:She|it:It}{ }{i:am|u:are|he,she,it:is}"
  tobe:    "%{person} @person{i:am|u:are|he,she,it:is}"

Code

I18n.backend.store_translations(:en, :i18n => { :inflections => {
  :gender => {
    :m          => 'male',
    :f          => 'female',
    :n          => 'neuter',
    :default    => :n
    },
  :@person => {
    :i          => 'i',
    :u          => 'you',
    :he         => 'he',
    :she        => 'she',
    :it         => 'it',
    :you        => :@u
    }
}})

I18n.backend.store_translations(:en, 'welcome' => 'Dear @{f:Lady|m:Sir|n:You|All}!')
I18n.backend.store_translations(:en, 'sayit'   => '@person{i:I|u:You|he:He|she:She|it:It}{ }{i:am|u:are|he,she,it:is}')
I18n.backend.store_translations(:en, 'tobe'    => '%{person} @person{i:am|u:are|he,she,it:is}')
I18n.locale = :en

Simple interpolation

When no option, it falls back to default token (n):

I18n.translate('welcome')
#=> "Dear You!"

When :m, it interpolates the m token's value:

I18n.translate('welcome', :gender => :m)
#=> "Dear Sir!"

When unknown, it falls back to default token (n):

I18n.translate('welcome', :gender => :unknown)
#=> "Dear You!"

When nil, it falls back to default token (n):

I18n.translate('welcome', :gender => nil)
#=> "Dear You!"

inflector_unknown_defaults

When :inflector_unknown_defaults is false, it falls back to free text:

I18n.translate('welcome', :gender => :unknown, :inflector_unknown_defaults => false)
#=> "Dear All!"

It also falls back when an inflection option is nil or empty:

I18n.translate('welcome', :gender => nil, :inflector_unknown_defaults => false)
#=> "Dear All!"

Named pattern

Regular inflection option will be used if there is no strict inflection option:

I18n.translate('sayit', :person => :i)
#=> "I am"

Strict inflection option has precedence:

I18n.translate('sayit', :person => :i, :@person => :u)
#=> "You are"

Strict inflection option has precedence even if the option's value is messy:

I18n.translate('sayit', :person => :i, :@person => :unknown)
#=> " "

Using with interpolation argument

First part is interpolated using standard interpolation variable while second part of the sentence comes from interpolation of inflection pattern. The same option is feeding both engines.

I18n.translate('tobe', :person => :i)
#=> "i am"

Note funny thing. The interpolation variable test takes value (i) from :person while option :@person takes precedence when it comes to inflections. Keep that in mind when combining regular interpolation variables with named patterns while using the same variable for controlling both. Choose non-strict notation for an option then.

I18n.translate('tobe', :person => :i, :@person => :u)
#=> "i are"

No free text in 'tobe' so the empty string is interpolated when strict kind is unknown:

I18n.translate('tobe', :person => :i, :@person => :unknown)
#=> "i "

API

Getting kinds

Getting all known regular kinds:

I18n.inflector.kinds
#=> [:gender]

Getting all known strict kinds:

I18n.inflector.strict.kinds
#=> [:person]

Getting all known kinds for language 'pl':

I18n.inflector.kinds(:pl)
#=> []

Listing all known options

I18n.inflector.options.known
#=> [:inflector_cache_aware, :inflector_raises, :inflector_aliased_patterns,
#    :inflector_unknown_defaults, :inflector_excluded_defaults]

Real-life example for Polish language

Polish is highly inflected language. Additionally, position of a word in a sentence is mutually coupled with meaning. That makes it extreemly hard to create finite-state machine that would handle Polish grammar. However, flection means that the same cores are combined with suffixes and prefixes depending on many different kinds: gender, tense, form, animation, declination and more. That makes Polish (and other Slavic languages) alphabetically redundant. By interpolating common cores, prefixes and suffixes of words we're able make our patterns compact.

YAML

pl:
  are_you_sure: "@{m,f:Jesteś pew}{m:ien|f:na}{n:Na pewno}?"

  i18n:
    inflections:
      gender:
        f:          "rodzaj żeński"
        m:          "rodzaj męski"
        n:          "forma bezosobowa"
        masculine:  @m
        facet:      @m
        chłopak:    @m
        feminine:   @f
        pani:       @f
        kobieta:    @f
        k:          @f
        dziewczyna: @f
        impersonal: @n
        default:    n

Code

# Using shorter form than listed as YAML

I18n.backend.store_translations(:pl, :i18n => { :inflections => { :gender =>
                                { :f => 'f', :m=>'m', :n=>'n', :kobieta=>:@f, :facet => :@m, :default=>:n }}})

# Making use of commas makes it easy to implement DRY
# and re-use some parts of the words that are the same in two or more phrases

I18n.backend.store_translations(:pl, :are_you_sure => "@{m,f:Jesteś pew}@{m:ien|f:na}@{n:Na pewno}?")

I18n.locale = :pl

I18n.translate('are_you_sure', :gender => :kobieta)
#=> "Jesteś pewna?"

I18n.translate('are_you_sure', :gender => :facet)
#=> "Jesteś pewien?"  

I18n.translate('are_you_sure')
#=> "Na pewno?"

# It would look like that without commas:
I18n.backend.store_translations(:pl, :are_you_sure => "@{m:Jesteś pewien|f:Jesteś pewna|n:Na pewno}?")

# That would also work but it's less readable.
# PS: Have you ever configured Sendmail? ;-)
I18n.backend.store_translations(:pl, :are_you_sure => "@{n:Na|m,f:Jesteś}{ pew}{m:ie}{n}{f:a|n:o}?")

Complex pattern usage

# Store needed translations
I18n.backend.store_translations(:pl,
  :i18n => { :inflections => {
    :@gender =>
        { :f       => 'f', :m     => 'm', :n       => 'n',
          :kobieta => :@f, :facet => :@m, :default => :n },
    :@tense =>
        { :t     => 'teraz', :w       => 'przeszły', :j     => 'przyszły',
          :teraz => :@t,     :wczoraj => :@w,        :jutro => :@j,
          :default => :t }
    }})

I18n.backend.store_translations(:pl,
  :msg_receive => "@gender+tense{n+w:Otrzymano|Dosta}{*+t:jesz|*+j:niesz|f+w:łaś|m+w:łeś} wiadomość")

I18n.locale = :pl

p I18n.translate('msg_receive', :gender => :kobieta)
#=> "Dostajesz wiadomość"

p I18n.translate('msg_receive', :gender => :facet)
#=> "Dostajesz wiadomość"

p I18n.translate('msg_receive')
#=> "Dostajesz wiadomość"

p I18n.translate('msg_receive', :gender => :kobieta, :tense => :wczoraj)
#=> "Dostałaś wiadomość"

p I18n.translate('msg_receive', :gender => :facet, :tense => :wczoraj)
#=> "Dostałeś wiadomość"

p I18n.translate('msg_receive', :tense => :jutro)
#=> "Dostaniesz wiadomość"

p I18n.translate('msg_receive', :tense => :wczoraj)
#=> "Otrzymano wiadomość"

YAML for the example above

The example above may use this YAML content instead of store_translations:

pl:
  msg_receive: "@gender+tense{n+w:Otrzymano|Dosta}{*+t:jesz|*+j:niesz|f+w:łaś|m+w:łeś} wiadomość"

  i18n:
    inflections:
      @gender:
        m:  'male'
        f:  'female'
        n:  'neuter'
        kobieta:  @f
        facet:    @m
        default:  n
      @tense:
        t:        'teraźniejszy'
        w:        'przeszły'
        j:        'przyszły'
        teraz:    @t
        wczoraj:  @w
        jutro:    @j
        default:  @t
Alternative for msg_receive key

The msg_receive might also be expressed using two infleciton keys:

pl:
  @msg_receive_1:
    @kind:    gender+tense
    @free:    'Dosta'
    n+w:      'Otrzymano'

  @msg_receive_2:
    @kind:    gender+tense
    @suffix:  " wiadomość"
    m,f,n+t:  "jesz"
    m,f,n+j:  "niesz"
    f+w:      "łaś"
    m+w:      "łeś"

But then you have to change the translation call too, e.g.:

p I18n.translate(['@msg_receive_1','@msg_receive_2'], :gender => :kobieta).join
#=> "Dostajesz wiadomość"

The split is necessary because we have two patterns here and no way to express them as one inflection key.

To be or not to be

Here is the example pattern that inflects English to be by tense, person and grammatical number:

en:
  i18n:
      inflections:
        @person:
            1: first
            2: second
            3: third
            i:    :@1
            you:  :@2
            He:   :@3
            She:  :@3
            it:   :@3
        @tense:
          past:      past
          present:   present
          now:       @present
          default:   present
        @num:
          s: singular
          p: plural
          default: s

  to_be: >
          @num+person{s+1:I|*+2:You|s+3:%{person}|p+3:They|p+1:We}
          @num+person+tense{s+1+present:am|s+2+present:are|s+3+present:is|
          p+*+present:are|s+1,3+past:was|p+*+past:were|s+2+past:were}

And the code that prints all possible combinations:

[:i, :you, :He, :She, :It].each do |person|
  puts  I18n.translate(:to_be, :num => :s, :person => person, :tense => :now) + "\t| " +
        I18n.translate(:to_be, :num => :s, :person => person, :tense => :past)
end

puts

(1..3).each do |person|
  puts  I18n.translate(:to_be, :num => :p, :person => person, :tense => :now) + " | " +
        I18n.translate(:to_be, :num => :p, :person => person, :tense => :past)
end

to be continued…