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Chapter 9. LaTeX in a Multilingual Environment > 9.2. The babel user interface

9.2. The babel user interface

Any language that you use in your document should be declared as an option when loading the babel package. Alternatively, because the language(s) in which a document is written constitute a global characteristic of the document, the languages can be indicated as global options on the \documentclass command. This strategy makes them available to any package that changes behavior depending on the language settings of the document. Currently supported options are enumerated in Table 9.1. For example, the following declaration prepares for typesetting in the languages German (option ngerman for new hyphenation rules) and Italian (option italian):

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The last language appearing on the \usepackage command line will be the default language used at the beginning of the document. In the above example, the language-dependent strings, the hyphenation patterns (if they were loaded for the given language when the LaTeX format was generated with INITeX; see the discussion on page 580), and possibly the interpretation of certain language-dependent commands (such as the date) will be for Italian from the beginning of the document up to the point where you choose a different language.


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