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Within Joomla the specific language related meta information for articles, modules, menus and any other content is understood as "language metadata". Within Joomla 1.5 it is already possible to tag an article with the specific language it is written in. However there is the limitation that you can only select languages which are installed as front-end language extension.
The CMS Joomla! supports many different languages in the frontend and backend applications already . The language extensions are in-depended from the language metadata as you might want to provide additional translations of your content without having the requirement to translate your whole site. The result is that you can have two separate lists related your language configuration of your whole system.
In order to group/select section/category descriptions, module content or menu names based on their language an additional reference to the language is useful. This meta information will the improve the possibilities of extensions to sort out language specific content. E.g. a RSS feed extension can present information for different languages or a content list can present the number of articles in one specific language without complex and time intensive database queries over a 'text' type filed.
The idea of this change is described and discussed in the following threads:
|1||:=||Published - active on the frontend.|
|0||:=||Unpublished - not active on the frontend but able to be set by anyone with edit rights to be able to prepare content for that language.|
|2||:=||Archived/Disabled - not shown in any lists, but available to search and link to.|