I'm using Neovim 0.2.2 on macOS High Sierra (10.13.1), installed via brew install neovim.

I removed .config/nvim/init.vim.

Neovim starts up using German for interface labels, as shown here:

German labels in Neovim interface

Here's the output of locale:


Here are my "Language & Region" settings:

macOS Language & Region Settings

All my other applications, GUI or command line, are in English.

Can someone enlighten me on what is causing Neovim to display German interface labels and how I can override that to use English instead?

I searched the Neovim documentation and Google on how to manually set Neovim's interface language, but couldn't find anything.

  • 1
    Is this not relevant? github.com/neovim/neovim/issues/5873
    – Mass
    Dec 5, 2017 at 16:38
  • 2
    It is! I think I had skimmed that issue but disqualified it at being about something different too hastily... But in the last comment someone actually provides a nice solution that doesn't mess with the environment: putting language en_US in .config/nvim/init.vim. Thanks! If you want to post it as an answer I'd accept it. Dec 5, 2017 at 17:12

3 Answers 3


Here is what you should do:

  1. Open ~/.config/nvim/init.vim (or create it if not present)
  2. Add a line language en_US
  3. Save it and reload Neovim

I would like to give all the credits to @anothernode. I've just convert his comment into the regular answer.


Regarding the second part of my question: just after posting I had the ingenious idea of setting LANG=en_US and that actually works.

Just out of curiosity, I'd still be interested in the answer to the first part: where exactly did Neovim get the idea to use German instead of defaulting to English in the first place?


Based on @jmarceli's answer, if you want to do the same in Lua, do this:

  1. Open ~/.config/nvim/init.lua (init.lua, not init.vim)
  2. Add a line vim.cmd("language en_US")
  3. Save it with :w
  4. Restart Neovim

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