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The hyphenation library of LibreOffice and FireFox wrapped for Python

Project description

  1. 2008-2021 PyHyphen developers


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0. Quickstart

With Python 3.7 or higher and a current version of pip, issue:

$ pip install pyhyphen
$ python
>>> from hyphen import Hyphenator
>>> # Download and install the hyphenation dict for German, if needed
>>> h = Hyphenator('de_DE') # `language`defaults to 'en_US'
>>> s = 'Politikverdrossenheit'
>>> h.pairs(s)
[['Po', 'litikverdrossenheit'],
['Poli', 'tikverdrossenheit'],
['Politik', 'verdrossenheit'],
['Politikver', 'drossenheit'],
['Politikverdros', 'senheit'],
['Politikverdrossen', 'heit']]
>>> h.syllables(s)
['Po', 'li', 'tik', 'ver', 'dros', 'sen', 'heit']
>>> h.wrap(s, 5)
['Poli-', 'tikverdrossenheit']

1. Overview

Pyhyphen is a pythonic interface to the hyphenation library used in projects such as LibreOffice and the Mozilla suite. It comes with tools to download, install and uninstall hyphenation dictionaries from LibreOffice’s Git repository. PyHyphen provides the hyphen package.

hyphen.textwrap2 is a modified version of the familiar textwrap module which wraps a text with hyphenation given a specified width. See the code example below.

PyHyphen supports Python 3.7 or higher.

1.1 Content of the hyphen package

The ‘hyphen’ package contains the following:

  • the hyphen.Hyphenator class: each instance of it can hyphenate and wrap words using a dictionary compatible with the hyphenation feature of LibreOffice and Mozilla. Required dictionaries are automatically downloaded at runtime, if not already installed.
  • the dictools module contains useful functions such as for downloading and installing dictionaries from a configurable repository. After installation of PyHyphen, the LibreOffice repository is used by default. Dictionaries are storedin the platform-specific user’s app directory.
  • ‘hyphen.hnj’ is the C extension module that does all the ground work. It contains the high quality C library libhyphen. It supports hyphenation with replacements as well as compound words.

1.2 The ‘textwrap2’ module

This module is an enhanced, though backwards-compatible version of the module ‘textwrap’ from the Python standard library. Unsurprisingly, it adds hyphenation functionality to ‘textwrap’. To this end, a new key word parameter use_hyphenator has been added to the __init__ constructor of the TextWrapper class which defaults to None. It can be initialized with any hyphenator object.

2. Code examples

>>> from hyphen import Hyphenator
# Create some hyphenators
h_de = Hyphenator('de_DE')
h_en = Hyphenator('en_US')

# Now hyphenate some words
[['beau', 'tiful'], ['beauti', 'ful']]

h_en.wrap('beautiful', 6)
['beau-', 'tiful']

h_en.wrap('beautiful', 7)
['beauti-', 'ful']

['beau', 'ti', 'ful']

>>> from hyphen.textwrap2 import fill
>>> long_text = 'Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Fusce vehicula rhoncus nulla et vulputate. In et risus dignissim erat dapibus iaculis ac ut nunc. Etiam vestibulum elit eget purus fermentum, eu finibus velit eleifend.'
>>> print(fill(long_text, width=40, use_hyphenator=h_en))
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur
adipiscing elit. Fusce vehicula rhoncus
nulla et vulputate. In et risus dignis-
sim erat dapibus iaculis ac ut nunc.
Etiam vestibulum elit eget purus fermen-
tum, eu finibus velit eleifend.

Just by creating Hyphenator objects for a language, the corresponding dictionaries will be automatically downloaded. For the HTTP connection to the LibreOffice server, PyHyphen uses the familiar`requests <>`_ library. Requests are fully configurable to handle proxies etc. Alternatively, dictionaries may be manually installed and listed with the dictools module:

>>> from hyphen.dictools import *

# Download and install some dictionaries in the default directory using the default
# repository, usually the LibreOffice website
>>> for lang in ['de_DE', 'en_US']:
    install(lang) # provide kwargs to configure the HTTP request

# Show locales of installed dictionaries
>>> list_installed()
['de', 'de_DE', 'en_PH', 'en_US']

3. Installation

PyHyphen is pip-installable from PyPI. In most scenarios the easiest way to install PyHyphen is to type from the shell prompt:

$ pip install pyhyphen

Besides the source distribution, there is a wheel on PyPI for Windows. As the C extension uses the limited C API, the wheel should work on all Python versions >= 3.7.

Building PyHyphen from source under Linux or MacOS should be straightforward. On Windows, the wheel isinstalled by default, so no C compiler is needed.

4. Managing dictionaries

The dictools module contains a non-exhaustive list of available language strings that can be used to instantiate Hyphenator objects as shown above:

>>> from hyphen import dictools
>>> dictools.LANGUAGES
['af_ZA', 'an_ES', 'ar', 'be_BY', 'bg_BG', 'bn_BD', 'br_FR', 'ca', 'cs_C
Z', 'da_DK', 'de', 'el_GR', 'en', 'es_ES', 'et_EE', 'fr_FR', 'gd_GB', 'gl', 'gu_
IN', 'he_IL', 'hi_IN', 'hr_HR', 'hu_HU', 'it_IT', 'ku_TR', 'lt_LT', 'lv_LV', 'ne
_NP', 'nl_NL', 'no', 'oc_FR', 'pl_PL', 'prj', 'pt_BR', 'pt_PT', 'ro', 'ru_RU', '
si_LK', 'sk_SK', 'sl_SI', 'sr', 'sv_SE', 'sw_TZ', 'te_IN', 'th_TH', 'uk_UA', 'zu

The downloaded dictionary files are stored in a local data folder, along with a dictionaries.json file that lists the downloaded files and the associated locales:

$ ls ~/.local/share/pyhyphen
dictionaries.json  hyph_de_DE.dic  hyph_en_US.dic

$ cat ~/.local/share/pyhyphen/dictionaries.json
  "de": {
    "file": "hyph_de_DE.dic",
    "url": ""
  "de_DE": {
    "file": "hyph_de_DE.dic",
    "url": ""
  "en_PH": {
    "file": "hyph_en_US.dic",
    "url": ""
  "en_US": {
    "file": "hyph_en_US.dic",
    "url": ""

Each entry of the dictionaries.json file contains both the path to the dictionary file and the url from which it was downloaded.

5. Contributing and reporting bugs

Questions can be asked in the Google group ( Or just send an e-mail to the authors.

Browse or fork the repository and report bugs at PyHyphen’s project site on Github.

Before submitting a PR, run the unit tests:

$ make test

6. License

Without prejudice to third party licenses, PyHyphen is distributed under the Apache 2.0 license. PyHyphen ships with third party code including the hyphenation library hyphen.c and a patched version of the Python standard module textwrap.

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