# BibLaTeX and babel - strange errors

I' m writing my MA thesis using LaTeX + BibLaTeX for bibliography. Sadly it seems that BibLaTeX paired with babel results in a number of strange errors:

\extraspolutonikogreek ...unct \abx@extras@polish
\abx@strings@polish
l.11 \select@language{polutonikogreek}

?
! Undefined control sequence.
\extraspolutonikogreek ...ish \abx@strings@polish

l.11 \select@language{polutonikogreek}

?
! Undefined control sequence.
\noextraspolutonikogreek ... \abx@noextras@polish

l.15 \select@language{polish}


The "strange" part comes from the fact that commenting BibLaTeX out removes them altogether. But BibLaTeX is precisely the reason why I started using LaTeX in the first place - I need Ancient Greek, French, Hebrew and Polish titles in my bibliography. Neither can I turn babel off - I use the same languages inside the text of my thesis.

There's however an upside to this problem: the errors don't do a thing. The text still turns out just as I wanted it. So, in theory, I could stop bothering - but:

1. They obscure my ability to perceive other errors (the text I'm working on has 997 lines of code as of now).
2. They are there for some reason and I'm quite sure that they should not be there.

My MWE:

\documentclass{report}
\usepackage{polski}
\usepackage[utf8]{inputenc}
\usepackage[T1]{fontenc}
\usepackage[polutonikogreek,polish]{babel}
\usepackage{biblatex}
\usepackage{filecontents}

\begin{document}
ąśćłź

\begin{otherlanguage}{polutonikogreek}
>ws mh e>id'oj' >'htis m' >'eteken, >ex <'otou t' >'efun,
\end{otherlanguage}

\end{document}

• You need a polish.lbx and a plutonikogreek.lbx. Take e.g. english.lbx as an example (or search the net, perhaps someone has already created the files). You can also load e.g. english as last language in the babel argument and switch to polish with \selectlanguage{polish} at the begin of the document. Then biblatex will take english as fallback. Apr 12, 2013 at 10:49
• The file polish.lbx can be found here: github.com/plk/biblatex/issues/107 Apr 12, 2013 at 10:57
• You can find a list of supported languages in the biblatex manual. Support for Polish will be added to 2.6. A development version of this release is available at sourceforge. Only modern Greek is supported, although the module greek.lbx is incomplete. Anyone interested in contributing a module for ancient Greek can get started with these instructions. Apr 12, 2013 at 14:12
• Thanks a lot everybody! I used a combination of those answers and it provided me with the exact results I wanted to achieve. The workaround suggested by Zlorf was also handy. Now I've enlisted the help of a fellow Classics specialist and we're working on plutonikogreek.lbx. When we're done, we hope that it will be added to some next version of biblatex. Apr 17, 2013 at 10:31

Use \begin{otherlanguage*} instead of \begin{otherlanguage}, if you need polutonikogreek only for the text, and not for words like 'chapter', 'table of contents' and so on.

I solved the problem by replacing

\usepackage[polutonikogreek]{babel}


by

\usepackage[greek.polutoniko]{babel}


This loads greek with the attribute polutoniko and passes only greek to biblatex`, which it understands very well. See the documentation of the babel-greek package “Babel support for the Greek language” for more.