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9.5. Tailoring babel

This section explains some of the commands that are made available by the core babel package to construct language definition files (which are usually loaded when a language option is requested). Section 9.5.3 then looks in some detail at the template file language.skeleton, which can be used as a basis to provide support for additional languages.

Language definition files (file extension .ldf) have to conform to a number of conventions, since they complement the common shared code of babel provided in the file babel.def for producing language-dependent text strings. Similarly, to allow for language switching like the capability built into babel, certain rules apply. The basic working assumptions follow.

• Each language definition file lang .ldf must define five macros, which are subsequently used to activate and deactivate the language-specific definitions. These macros are \ language hyphenmins, \captions language, \date language, \extras language, and \noextras language, where language is either the name of the language definition file or the name of a babel package option. These macros and their functions are discussed below.


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