Using system settings I changed my language to Arabic and deleted the English language from the settings. Then the computer lagged and it logged out - now I can't log back in because the login is in Arabic.

So is there a way to default my language via terminal, default the login password language, or login via terminal which is still in English. I only have access to guest and a terminal.

I changed the pasword to something that could be translated into arabic http://www.psychocats.net/ubuntu/resetpassword - then loged in and used system settings to default.

3 Answers 3


Edit two files:

  1. sudoedit /etc/default/locale:

  2. sudoedit ~/.pam_environment:


Logout and Login or Reboot.

  • 5
    Nano is also installed by default. :-)
    – LiveWireBT
    May 7, 2012 at 17:29
  • 3
    If you want to understand what changing these variables means: help.ubuntu.com/community/Locale
    – yuric
    Apr 29, 2013 at 17:25
  • 4
    Also need LC_ALL=en_US.UTF-8
    – Artem P
    Jan 19, 2016 at 0:28
  • 3
    If using KDE, you might want to check ~/.KDE/env/setlocale.sh too, as it might conflict.
    – stragu
    Jun 22, 2016 at 4:15
  • 2
    This also works for "Bash on Ubuntu" on Windows 10.
    – user608329
    Oct 18, 2016 at 6:46

In order to get back to English, I had to change my locale in 3 places:

  1. /etc/default/locale

    by running this command:

    $ sudo update-locale LANG=en_US.UTF-8 LANGUAGE= LC_MESSAGES= LC_COLLATE= LC_CTYPE=
  2. ~/.config/plasma-localerc and ~/.config/plasma-locale-settings.sh

    By going to my KDE settings / Regional Settings / Language

And reboot.

  • 1
    I only had to run echo export LANGUAGE=en_US.UTF-8 | sudo tee -a ~/.bashrc
    – Jonathan
    Mar 16, 2021 at 13:39

You can also do this interactively using dpkg-reconfigure:

$ sudo dpkg-reconfigure locale

and follow the steps on the next screens.

After that, logout/login again and/or reboot.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .