This question already has an answer here:

I made the mistake of trying out some settings through Administration -> Language Support. Now my user account has LANG set to fi_FI.utf8, even though I want to use en_US.utf8. (This is kind-of a follow up to this.)

Listing 1: current locale settings for my user account:

$ locale

Listing 2: /etc/default/locale which contains the locale settings I want to use:

$ cat /etc/default/locale 


The Administration -> Language support settings look like this:

My specific questions:

  • Where exactly (in what file) are the user-specific locale settings (listing 1) stored?
  • What is the recommended way of changing that? By editing a file or through some config UI? (I want to use the settings in listing 2.)

The root annoyance which prompted me to ask this: How to change Firefox UI language from Finnish back to English?

I'm using Ubuntu 10.04 if that makes any difference.

marked as duplicate by Tachyons, Basharat Sialvi, dobey, Thomas Ward, Uri Herrera Apr 19 '13 at 20:25

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • 1
    If you want to start a single program in english you can always run it with ALT+F2 (or terminal) using this: $ LANG=POSIX firefox – mniess Nov 3 '10 at 15:09

Specify the language at the login prompt after selecting the user. When asked whether to make the selection the new default, select yes.

  • +1, that worked, thanks. (It didn't ask anything about setting default but the selection did seem to persist.) I'm still interested in more details though: whether user's locale can be configured in a file etc. – Jonik Nov 3 '10 at 15:30
  • 3
    The system-locale is stored in /etc/default/locale. Userspecific locale settings are supposed to go in ~/.profile by adding something like LANG=en_EN.utf8. – mniess Nov 3 '10 at 16:19

The per-user locale default for the Desktop session is stored in ~/.dmrc. This is the file that is updated when selecting a new locale at the GDM screen. GDM uses this to set up the environment when starting the user's session.

  • Thanks. So apparently the GDM selection sets LANG and also fills in any of LC_* with selected locale, except those set in /etc/default/locale. Fair enough. – Jonik Nov 4 '10 at 7:49

Just open terminal and type sudo gedit then the text editor will open.
Then open the file locale located underneath the etc/default.
Then just edit the LANGUAGE=en and LANG="en_US.utf8".

  • 1
    The question is about how to change the user settings. So anything requiring sudo is no option. – ceving Mar 4 '15 at 8:32

If "User Accounts" is crashing each time you start it, you should reset the accounts.

To get the error-message, run 'gnome-control-center' from a terminal and click on "User Accounts". You'll probably see something like this:

    (gnome-control-center:5060): common-cc-panel-WARNING **: locale 'xx_XX:nl_NL:en_GB:en
    xx_XX' isn't valid

To fix, run the command gnome-language-selector. Try changing the locale and language settings to a different one and see if that resolves your problem. Then change back.

Also run sudo dpkg-reconfigure locales to see of there are any cache-errors. By purging the bad locales with sudo dpkg-reconfigure localepurge you could probably solve the original problem which caused the crashing.


Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.