# Content Languages

# Base Document Language

It’s a good practice to declare the primary language of the document in the html element:

<html lang="en">

If no other lang attribute is specified in the document, it means that everything (i.e., element content and attribute text values) is in that language.

If the document contains parts in other languages, these parts should get their own lang attributes to "overwrite" the language declaration.

# Element Language

The lang attribute is used to specify the language of element content and attribute text values:

<p lang="en">The content of this element is in English.</p>

<p lang="en" title="The value of this attribute is also in English.">The content of this element is in English.</p>

The language declaration gets inherited:

<div lang="en">
  <p>This element contains English content.</p>
  <p title="This attribute, too.">Same with this element.</p>

# Elements with Multiple Languages

You can "overwrite" a language declaration:

<p lang="en">This English sentence contains the German word <span lang="de">Hallo</span>.</p>

# Handling Attributes with Different Languages

You can "overwrite" a parent element's language declaration by introducing any element apart from applet, base, basefont, br, frame, frameset, hr, iframe, meta, param, script (of HTML 4.0) with an own lang (opens new window) attribute:

<p lang="en" title="An English paragraph">
    <span lang="de" title="A German sentence">Hallo Welt!</span>

# Regional URLs

It is possible to add the attribute hreflang (opens new window) to the elements <a> and <area> that create hyperlinks. Such it specifies the language of the linked resource. The language defined must be a valid BCP 47 (opens new window)[1] language tag.

    <a href="example.org" hreflang="en">example.org</a> is one of IANA's example domains.

  1. ↑ IETF Network Working Group: RFC 5646 Tags for Identifying Languages (opens new window), IETF, September 2009

# Syntax

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  • # Remarks

    The value of the lang attribute must be a valid BCP 47 language tag or the empty string (if the language is unknown).

    The BCP 47 (opens new window) language tags are listed in the IANA Language Subtag Registry (opens new window).

    # Accessibility

    The relevant WCAG 2.0 Success Criteria are:

    The related WCAG 2.0 Techniques are: