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The purpose of this template is to indicate that a span of text belongs to a particular language. It often makes no visible changes to the text, but can prompt web browsers to use a more appropriate font, or screen readers to use a particular kind of pronunciation, and so on. The § Rationale, below, provides more information.

Syntax and usage

{{lang|language tag|text}}

The language tag should consist of an ISO 639 language code, optionally extended to indicate a language's script or region. The language code is usually a two- or three-letter abbreviation, in lowercase, of the language's name. French, for example, has the code fr:

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

Because all languages represented by two-letter codes in ISO 639‑1 can also be represented by their newer three-letter equivalents in ISO 639‑2 and above, it is recommended to use the shortest language tag possible that sufficiently describes the target language.[1] So while French could be represented by 639‑2's fra code, 639‑1's fr should still take precedence. Likewise, script and region information should only be included when they provide a necessary distinction.

By default, this template will place articles into the relevant subcategory of Category:Articles containing non-English-language text. To suppress this – e.g. when using {{lang}} within a wikilink or the title parameter of a citation – add the parameter |nocat=true.


There are language-specific versions of this template, such as {{lang-fr}} and {{lang-ru}}, which are intended to be used the first time a language appears in an article. These templates will print the language's name and, when appropriate, italicize their content:

  • A '''kremlin''' ({{lang-ru|кремль}}, ''castle'') is a major fortified central complex...
A kremlin (Template:Lang-ru, castle) is a major fortified central complex...

While {{lang-xx}} templates output text in italics for languages with Latin-based scripts, if plain text is required, such as for proper names, {{noitalic}} may be used:

  • ... the border town of Ventimiglia ({{lang-fr|{{noitalic|Vintimille}}}})
... the border town of Ventimiglia (French: [Vintimille] error: {{lang}}: text has italic markup (help))

When formatting foreign-language text to match style guidelines, it is best to exclude the styling markup from the template, so that any extraneous markup which is not from the foreign language does not receive incorrect metadata for that language:

  • Use ''{{lang|it|[[goriziana]]}}''
  • Not {{lang|it|''[[goriziana]]''}}

This includes italicization of foreign words; English-language quotation marks around titles of works in languages that use other quotation character glyphs; italicization of titles in languages which do not use that convention; and emphasis that is not found (in one style or another) in the original foreign text; among other cases. If in doubt, put such markup outside the template.

Right-to-left languages

To embed a string of right-to-left text (from languages like Arabic or Hebrew) within the usual left-to-right context, you should add the |rtl=yes parameter, so the writing direction can be correctly communicated to browsers. Alternatively, you can use the {{rtl-lang}} template to accomplish the same result, or {{rtl-para}} for marking up whole paragraphs of right-to-left text.

Either of these approaches will wrap the text in a container with the dir="rtl" attribute. In order to ensure correct rendering in browsers that do not fully support HTML 5 bidirectional isolation, they may also add a left-to-right mark at the end of the text (see the W3C for details).

Note that text direction does not need to be specified when using the {{lang-xx}} templates, as this is implied by the template's language. Therefore there is no {{rtl-lang-ar}}, only {{lang-ar}}.

Indicating writing script

If necessary, an ISO 15924 script code can be appended to a language code to indicate the use of a specific script. For instance, Tajik (tg) is a language which can be found written in Arabic (Arab), Latin (Latn), and Cyrillic (Cyrl) scripts, making it necessary to always specify which script is in use. In such a case, taking care to preserve the script's capitalization, we could end up with the following code (language tags in bold):

  • Tajik ({{rtl-lang|tg-Arab|تاجیکی}}, ''{{lang|tg-Latn|toçikī}}'', {{lang|tg-Cyrl|тоҷикӣ}})
Tajik (تاجیکی‎, toçikī, тоҷикӣ)

Many languages, however, are so commonly written in one particular script that specifying the script is unnecessary. Russian, for instance, is almost exclusively written in Cyrillic, so there is no need to specify ru-Cyrl, just as en-Latn would be redundant for English. The IANA's language subtag registry contains up-to-date information on which languages have redundant, or "suppressed", script codes.


To mark a language which has been transliterated from one script into another, append the new script's code to the code of the original language. So if transliterating from Russian Cyrillic to a Latin script, the language tag on the transliteration would be ru-Latn. As a convenience for transliterating to Latin scripts, and to work around browser styling issues with some language and script combinations, {{transl}} should be used in place of {{lang}}:

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

To specify a transliteration scheme, such as the ISO transliteration standard for Cyrillic, use {{transl|ru|ISO|Moskva}}.

Undetermined language

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

  • 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}} usage:

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

Indicating regional variant

When it is necessary to indicate region-specific language, an ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 country code, or UN M.49 region code, should be added to the language tag, taking care to preserve capitalization. For example, Portuguese (pt) as used in Brazil (BR) could be represented as pt-BR, and Spanish as used in Latin America as es-419.

Additionally, language, script, and region codes can all appear in the same tag. For instance, the code zh-Hant-TW should be used for Chinese text written with Traditional Han characters, containing words or expressions specific to Taiwan:

  • Taiwan ({{lang|zh-Hant-TW|臺灣}}, ''{{transl|zh|Táiwān}}'')
Taiwan (臺灣, Táiwān)


Applying styles

Registered users can apply custom CSS styles to articles by placing style declarations in their user style sheet. The user style sheet can be created at Special:Mypage/common.css. For more information, see Help:User style. The following examples should work in most modern browsers, but not in Internet Explorer 8 or earlier, which lack support for attribute selectors.

To apply a specific font to all text marked as Russian:

<syntaxhighlight lang="css"> span[lang|=ru] { font-family: fonteskaya; } </syntaxhighlight>

To apply a color to all text marked with a language:

<syntaxhighlight lang="css"> span[lang] { color: green; } </syntaxhighlight>

Do not use quotation marks in your user style sheet, they may be misinterpreted as wikitext. While they are recommended in CSS, they are only required for font families containing generic-family keywords ('inherit', 'serif', 'sans-serif', 'monospace', 'fantasy', and 'cursive'). See the W3C for more details.


This is the TemplateData documentation for this template used by VisualEditor and other tools; see the monthly error report for this template.

TemplateData for Lang

Indicate that a given span of text belongs to a particular language. Allows browsers to correctly present and pronounce foreign languages.

Template parameters

This template prefers inline formatting of parameters.

Language tag1

A language tag, or an ISO 639 language code.


The text belonging to the language specified.

Je suis française.
Right to leftrtl

Indicates that the language should be displayed from right to left.


See also

Further information


  1. "Language tags in HTML and XML" at World Wide Web Consortium
  2. Heilmann, Chris (13 Mar 2008). "Yahoo! search results now with natural language support". Yahoo! Developer Network Blog. Archived from the original on 25 Jan 2009. Retrieved 28 Feb 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Ishida, Richard (18 November 2014). "Why use the language attribute?". World Wide Web Consortium. Retrieved 1 Mar 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "6.4 Ligatures: the font-variant-ligatures property". CSS Fonts Module Level 3 W3C Candidate Recommendation 3 October 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>