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Two commands to set up the language aspects

Today, with the international use of the UTF-8 standard for input and output encoding, you only need two commands, with the language tag you want in brackets:

to set the language of auto-generated language elements, like the title of the table of contents or the appendix.
to change the hyphenation rules, quotation marks, all that sort of thing, to that of a different language. (The default language is English.)

\language is only needed when you use more than 1 language in a document, otherwise \mainlanguage is enough to change labels and hyphentation patterns.

ConTeXt's markup

ConTeXt has a multilingual interface to enable users to work in their own language. It is specified by setting the ConTeXt interface value in the first line of your input file:

Language-specific pages

Language tags

Here's the list of ConTeXt's language tags, also available in the latest official Languages manual. Sources are available).


Other links

Finally, for older content, we keep a page Encodings and Regimes - Old Content about including accents, composite characters, and how "ä" and alike were produced in LaTeX/ConTeXt mkii. Second Step gave an example for german language.