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The purpose of this template is to indicate that a given span of text belongs to a particular language (see language code). It often makes no visible changes to the text, but can help web browsers choose the right font, screen readers use the right pronunciation and more, as explained hereafter.

{{lang|Language tag|Text}}

Use ISO 639 language codes. Example (where fr is the code for French):

* She said: "''{{lang|fr|Je suis française.}}''"

Results in your browser:

  • She said: "Je suis française."

By default, this template will place articles into the relevant subcategory of Category:Articles containing non-English-language text. To suppress this, for example when using the template inside a wikilink or the "title" parameter of a citation, add the parameter |nocat=true. To reset the direction of text immediately following a string of right-to-left text, the {{rtl-lang}} template may be used, which also supports the |nocat= parameter.

If appropriate, the entire wikilink may be fed to the template instead:

{{lang|ar|[[Arabic language|العربية]]}}
[[Arabic language|{{lang|ar|العربية}}]]

There are also versions of this template for specific languages that also print the language's name, intended to be used the first time that language is used in the article. For example, "{{lang-es|español}}" and "{{lang-ru|русский язык}}" give "Spanish: español" and "Russian: русский язык".

Language subtags can also be used to indicate the writing script or regional variant of a language. According to the W3C, "the golden rule when creating language tags is to keep the tag as short as possible", [1] so such subtags should only be added if there is an important reason to use them. ISO 639‑1 is preferred over ISO 639‑2 and ISO 639‑3.


{{lang|xx}} outputs plain text by default. In {{lang-xx}}, the foreign-language text is italicised by default. If plain text is required, e.g. for proper names, {{noitalics}} may be used:

* ... the border town of Ventimiglia ({{lang-fr|{{noitalics|Vintimille}}}})


  • ... the border town of Ventimiglia (French: Vintimille)

Indicating writing script

If necessary, add the ISO 15924 code to indicate the script.

For example, Russian is usually written in the Cyrillic script, therefore the 'Cyrl' script code is superfluous and the language code will be ru instead of ru-Cyrl. However, when that text is transliterated the transl code (transliteration) should be used because it isn't the default script for Russian: ru-Latn. Example:

* Moscow ([[Russian language|Russian]]: {{lang|ru|Москва́}}, {{transl|ru|''Moskva''}})

which is the same as

* Moscow ({{lang-ru|Москва́}}, {{transl|ru|''Moskva''}})

Results in your browser:

  • Moscow (Russian: Москва́, Moskva)

Instead of using {{transl|ru|''Moskva''}} the {{lang|ru-Latn|''Moskva''}} can be used, but if you specified a font and a size for the target language in your custom CSS (see Help:User style), the transliteration will appear in that specified style. To specify a transliteration scheme, for example, you are using the ISO 9 transliteration of Cyrillic, use {{transl|ru|ISO|''Moskva''}}:

The IANA maintains a list specifying when the script tag should be suppressed [2]. In some cases, the script must be always specified, like Tajik which can be equally written in Arabic, Latin or Cyrillic alphabets:

* Tajik ({{rtl-lang|tg-Arab|تاجیکی}}, {{transl|tg|''tojikī''}}, {{lang|tg-Cyrl|тоҷикӣ}})

Which results in your browser:

  • Tajik (تاجیکی‎, tojikī, тоҷикӣ)

Note the use of {{rtl-lang}} instead of {{lang}} when using the Arabic script (see hereafter section writing direction).

Undetermined language

The {{lang}} template is not only used to specify the language of foreign words, but also to specify a single symbol or character in a specific script, for example when discussing about a specific writing system. Many times the character / symbol is used in several languages, but when the article refers to the grapheme itself the ISO 639‑2 and ISO 639‑3 language code und for Undetermined language should be used. For example:

The {{lang|und-Hani|字}} Han character has 6 strokes.
The Han character has 6 strokes.

Han characters are used in Chinese, Japanese, sometimes Korean, and formerly Vietnamese, and in this case the character is not used for any specific language. Note that the script code used is Hani, which specifies generic Han characters (Hanzi, Kanji, Hanja).

Compare {{script}}

The {{script|Hani|字}} Han character has 6 strokes.
The Han character has 6 strokes.

Indicating regional variant

In some cases, maybe it will be needed to add ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 country codes (specific usage of that country). Of course the three codes can appear in the same tag, for example the code zh-Hant-TW will be used for Chinese text written with Traditional Han characters, containing words or expressions specific to Taiwan. zh-Hans is for simplified. Examples:

* {{lang|zh-Hant-TW|臺灣}}

Results in your browser:

  • 臺灣

Writing direction

{{rtl-lang}} is used to wrap strings of right-to-left text (from languages like Arabic or Hebrew) embedded in left-to-right text, and resets text direction to left-to-right at its conclusion. For whole paragraphs of right-to-left text, use {{rtl-para}}.


Applying styles

You can apply CSS styles in your user style sheet. Registered users can put styles into User:XXX/monobook.css, where XXX is the user name.

These examples may work in Internet Explorer 8; prior versions do not support attribute selectors. Alternatively, try another browser such as Firefox.

Example: to apply a font to Russian-language text:

 span[lang|=ru] { font-family: fonteskaya; }

Example: to apply a colour to text marked with any language:

 span[lang] { color: green; }

Do not use quotation marks in your user style sheet; wikitext will screw them up. They are recommended in CSS, but not required other than for font families containing generic-family keywords ('inherit', 'serif', 'sans-serif', 'monospace', 'fantasy', and 'cursive'). See http://www.w3.org/TR/CSS21/fonts.html#font-family-prop for details.


This is the TemplateData documentation for the template used by the new VisualEditor.


Indicate that a given span of text belongs to a particular language. Use by browsers which use different styles for different languages.

Template parameters
Parameter Description Type Default Status
Language code 1 A language tag or an ISO 639 language code, e.g. fr (the code for French). string empty required
Text 2 The text e.g. Je suis française. string empty required

See also


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