I'm using ExPex for an interlinear translation in Hebrew. I'm having issues when translating one Hebrew word with multiple English words: the English words are right-to-left, while they should be left-to-right. See the example:

\newfontfamily\englishfont[Mapping=tex-text]{Latin Modern Roman}
\newfontfamily\hebrewfont[Scale=MatchLowercase]{Ezra SIL}


\ex[everyglc=\englishfont] \begingl
\gla 7225 1254 430 853 8064 853 776//
\glb בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית בָּרָ֣א אֱלֹהִ֑ים אֵ֥ת הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם וְאֵ֥ת הָאָֽרֶץ׃ //
\glc {In the beginning} created God - {the heavens} and {the earth.}//


enter image description here

This should read:

the earth. and the heavens - God created In the beginning

How do I make that happen in a neat way?

  • When I compile your example, the English words are LTR as you want them. – Alan Munn Feb 11 '16 at 16:44
  • If I remove the everyglc=\englishfont then the text comes out RTL. Are you sure in your actual document you have specified \englishfont for everyglc? – Alan Munn Feb 11 '16 at 16:53
  • So this might be a version related issue. @Camil: try updating your TeX distribution. – Júda Ronén Feb 11 '16 at 17:57
  • @AlanMunn this is my actual document for the time being :) but that's strange, that it's working for you. What version are you using? I have XeTeX, Version 3.14159265-2.6-0.99992 (TeX Live 2015/dev/Debian) (preloaded format=xelatex). All my packages are up to date. – Keelan Feb 12 '16 at 11:07
  • This is somehow font-related. I changed the fonts in my initial test, since I didn't have your fonts available. Using used David CLM and Times the problem doesn't arise, but using Linux Libertine instead of Times, I can now reproduce the problem. It's not obviously version related, since I get no difference with TL 2014 or TL 2015. – Alan Munn Feb 12 '16 at 19:17

An explicit (=cumbersome) and cleaner solution

A quick solution would be to use the bidi package’s \LR{} command:

\glc \LR{In the beginning} created God - \LR{the heavens} and \LR{the earth.}//

See §1.8 (Typesetting Short LTR and RTL Texts) in the documentation for further information.

A somewhat easier to use solution

Add \beginL to the everyglc hook. This can be done locally (changing \ex[everyglc=\englishfont] to \ex[everyglc=\englishfont\beginL] in the question) or globally, by using the \lingset command like this:


The downside of this solution is that it uses an internal macro of bidi; I’m not sure how risky it is to use this, but it seems like a good hack to me and I don’t think it is going to break easily soon (not unless radical changes will be made in bidi or expex).

  • Thank you, but I was hoping for a solution where I wouldn't have to type that every time. Do you happen to have that as well? :) – Keelan Feb 11 '16 at 16:32
  • :-). I tried to use the \begingl option everyglc=\setLR, but it didn’t work. – Júda Ronén Feb 11 '16 at 16:52
  • I tried that too, and it didn't work; I'm not quite sure why. – Alan Munn Feb 11 '16 at 21:09
  • @Alan Munn: I guess because \setLR sets the direction of a paragraph, not of a segment within a paragraph. – Júda Ronén Feb 13 '16 at 21:45
  • @CamilStaps — I’ve just added another solution which I think solves your problem. – Júda Ronén Feb 13 '16 at 21:59

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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