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17.2 Language Environments

All supported character sets are supported in SXEmacs buffers if it is compiled with Mule; there is no need to select a particular language in order to display its characters in an SXEmacs buffer. However, it is important to select a language environment in order to set various defaults. The language environment really represents a choice of preferred script (more or less) rather that a choice of language.

The language environment controls which coding systems to recognize when reading text (see Recognize Coding). This applies to files, incoming mail, netnews, and any other text you read into SXEmacs. It may also specify the default coding system to use when you create a file. Each language environment also specifies a default input method.

The command to select a language environment is M-x set-language-environment. It makes no difference which buffer is current when you use this command, because the effects apply globally to the SXEmacs session. The supported language environments include:

ASCII, Chinese-BIG5, Chinese-GB, Croatian, Cyrillic-ALT, Cyrillic-ISO, Cyrillic-KOI8, Cyrillic-Win, Czech, English, Ethiopic, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, IPA, Japanese, Korean, Latin-1, Latin-2, Latin-3, Latin-4, Latin-5, Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, Slovenian, Thai-XTIS, Vietnamese.

Some operating systems let you specify the language you are using by setting locale environment variables. SXEmacs handles one common special case of this: if your locale name for character types contains the string ‘8859-n’, SXEmacs automatically selects the corresponding language environment.

To display information about the effects of a certain language environment lang-env, use the command C-h L lang-env RET (describe-language-environment). This tells you which languages this language environment is useful for, and lists the character sets, coding systems, and input methods that go with it. It also shows some sample text to illustrate scripts used in this language environment. By default, this command describes the chosen language environment.

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