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FreeBSD 11.0 - man page for multibyte (freebsd section 3)

MULTIBYTE(3)			   BSD Library Functions Manual 		     MULTIBYTE(3)

NAME
     multibyte -- multibyte and wide character manipulation functions

LIBRARY
     Standard C Library (libc, -lc)

SYNOPSIS
     #include <limits.h>
     #include <stdlib.h>
     #include <wchar.h>

DESCRIPTION
     The basic elements of some written natural languages, such as Chinese, cannot be represented
     uniquely with single C chars.  The C standard supports two different ways of dealing with
     extended natural language encodings: wide characters and multibyte characters.  Wide charac-
     ters are an internal representation which allows each basic element to map to a single
     object of type wchar_t.  Multibyte characters are used for input and output and code each
     basic element as a sequence of C chars.  Individual basic elements may map into one or more
     (up to MB_LEN_MAX) bytes in a multibyte character.

     The current locale (setlocale(3)) governs the interpretation of wide and multibyte charac-
     ters.  The locale category LC_CTYPE specifically controls this interpretation.  The wchar_t
     type is wide enough to hold the largest value in the wide character representations for all
     locales.

     Multibyte strings may contain 'shift' indicators to switch to and from particular modes
     within the given representation.  If explicit bytes are used to signal shifting, these are
     not recognized as separate characters but are lumped with a neighboring character.  There is
     always a distinguished 'initial' shift state.  Some functions (e.g., mblen(3), mbtowc(3) and
     wctomb(3)) maintain static shift state internally, whereas others store it in an mbstate_t
     object passed by the caller.  Shift states are undefined after a call to setlocale(3) with
     the LC_CTYPE or LC_ALL categories.

     For convenience in processing, the wide character with value 0 (the null wide character) is
     recognized as the wide character string terminator, and the character with value 0 (the null
     byte) is recognized as the multibyte character string terminator.	Null bytes are not per-
     mitted within multibyte characters.

     The C library provides the following functions for dealing with multibyte characters:

     Function	    Description
     mblen(3)	    get number of bytes in a character
     mbrlen(3)	    get number of bytes in a character (restartable)
     mbrtowc(3)     convert a character to a wide-character code (restartable)
     mbsrtowcs(3)   convert a character string to a wide-character string (restartable)
     mbstowcs(3)    convert a character string to a wide-character string
     mbtowc(3)	    convert a character to a wide-character code
     wcrtomb(3)     convert a wide-character code to a character (restartable)
     wcstombs(3)    convert a wide-character string to a character string
     wcsrtombs(3)   convert a wide-character string to a character string (restartable)
     wctomb(3)	    convert a wide-character code to a character

SEE ALSO
     mklocale(1), setlocale(3), stdio(3), big5(5), euc(5), gb18030(5), gb2312(5), gbk(5),
     mskanji(5), utf8(5)

STANDARDS
     These functions conform to ISO/IEC 9899:1999 (``ISO C99'').

BSD					  April 8, 2004 				      BSD


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