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Re: authoring @lang and @dir (was 3.6. The root element)

From: Robert Burns <rob@robburns.com>
Date: Wed, 1 Aug 2007 01:18:09 -0500
Message-Id: <A9B90584-6493-44FD-9FCD-AA218FA43B01@robburns.com>
Cc: <public-html@w3.org>
To: Sander Tekelenburg <st@isoc.nl>

On Jul 31, 2007, at 2:33 AM, Sander Tekelenburg wrote:

>>> (Given how many 'rtl natives' also speak english, french, etc. I
>>> suspect the
>>> same, although perhaps somehwat less widespread, applies to @dir.)
>> There I think the direction is very dependent on the language.
>> [...] Once @lang is there, @dir can be computed accordingly.
> I don't think so. I don't speak most languages :) but for sure it  
> isn't as
> clear cut as a specific language equaling a specific direction. (Or  
> else why
> the need for @dir at all?) @dir is about scripts, not languages.  
> One language
> can be expressed in different scripts, so can have different  
> directionalities.
> I've no idea how widespread that practice actually is, but for  
> instance
> romanization of hebrew appears to be rather common:
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romanization_of_Hebrew#Modern_uses>.  
> Notably
> "Some Hebrew speakers use romanization to communicate when using  
> Internet
> systems that have poor support for the Hebrew alphabet." suggests  
> that at
> least romanization is likely used in many other languages as well.  
> (But
> always take Wikipedia with a grain of salt.)

That is a good example. However, the RFC 3066 language codes allow  
one to specify both language and different script variants. So Hebrew  
written with the Latin script could be designated by lang='iw- 
LATN' (dir='LTR'); standard Hebrew as lang='iw' (dir='RTL'); Turkish  
as lang='tr-LATN'; and Turikish in Arabic as lang='tr-Arab' (dir='RTL').

With these RFC 3066 language codes everything necessary to designate  
directionality is already there. I think the reason we have both @dir  
and @lang is so that authors have more flexibility in how much  
language detail to provide. Also UAs do not have to hard-wire the  
mappings of about RFC 3066 scripts codes to directionality and  
extract script information from the language codes. That's just my  
speculation on this but perhaps someone else knows more of the  
history behind this.

Take care,
Received on Wednesday, 1 August 2007 06:28:49 UTC

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