[tex-eplain] hyphenation patterns in plain TeX

Daniel Luecking luecking at uark.edu
Tue Aug 18 20:07:04 CEST 2009

On Monday, August 17, 2009 at 1:28 pm I (Dan Luecking <luecking at uark.edu>) wrote:

> The following does work to switch to portuguese rules:
>   \language=\csname l at portuges\endcsname
> or
>   \language=\csname l at portuguese\endcsname

My code above is part of what Karl's suggestion does, but I 
forgot about \left/righthyphenmin. 

I experimented a great deal with combinations of
\usepackage{babel} (inside \beginpackages), inputting plain.def, 
inputting babel.def, etc. in various orders. The only way I managed 
to make \selectlanguage work was the code below, wherein I merely 
defined a couple of things to get around errors. 

 1. The definition of \f at encoding is pretty much arbitrary 
(outside of LaTeX), but it needs to be defined. 

 2. The definition of \CurrenOption needs to be the language (or one of 
its equivalents) whose support is provided in the *.ldf that is input next. 
I think it also has to match what will be used in succeeding \selectlanguage 

 3. The available *.ldf files can usuallybe found in tex/generic/babel/ (in 
one of the trees texmf or texmf-dist). Available languages, along with 
equivalent names, are in language.dat (usually found in 

% the code:
  \def\f at encoding{OT1}
  \input portuges.ldf
  \input english.ldf
  % etc. for each language needed and for which 
  % hyphenation patterns were loaded.

Text in english. % last language input above prevails

Text in portuguese. The only word I know is: portuges.

Personally, I like to have other hyphenation rules available on
occasion, but if babel really doesn't try harder to support plain
(or at least document its support for plain), then maybe eplain 
needs to get a minimal user interface working by itself. I don't 
have any objection to going via etex.src and language.def instead 
of bplain.tex and language.dat.

Department of Mathematical Sciences
University of Arkansas
Fayetteville, AR 72701 

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