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<q> element, XHTML2, and CSS

From: Addison Phillips <addison.phillips@quest.com>
Date: Fri, 22 Jul 2005 09:34:39 -0700
Message-ID: <634978A7DF025A40BFEF33EB191E13BC0C316BED@irvmbxw01.quest.com>
To: <public-i18n-core@w3.org>, <public-i18n-geo@w3.org>
Cc: "Hypertext CG" <w3c-html-cg@w3.org>

In today's HCG meeting there was a discussion of the <q> element in HTML4 and XHTML1 (as well as the on-going debate about the quotes element in CSS 2.1).

Basically, to summarize, HTML4 says at [1]:

Visual user agents must ensure that the content of the Q element is rendered with delimiting quotation marks. Authors should not put quotation marks at the beginning and end of the content of a Q element.

User agents should render quotation marks in a language-sensitive manner (see the lang attribute). Many languages adopt different quotation styles for outer and inner (nested) quotations, which should be respected by user-agents.

It also says:

Since the language of both quotations is American English, user agents should render them appropriately, for example with single quote marks around the inner quotation and double quote marks around the outer quotation:

XHTML 1.0 basically inherits this. Notice that there is the suggestion that the xml:lang (or lang) attribute affects the way the quotes are generated and embedding of languages within one another introduced complex rendering issues.

In XHTML 2.0 [2], the <q> element remains as a semantic identifier, but the requirement to render the quote marks is removed. In fact, I18N commented on this explicitly in our review [3], in comment #28.

In today's HCG meeting there was a discussion of whether CSS 2.1 should follow the lead of XHMTL 2.0, since multilingual quote marks are extremely rarely implemented and rather arcane to boot. I18N's position appears to be that this is the de facto standard anyway and that we should begin to provide guidance to content authors and implementers that matches this case.

I suggested (and drew an action item) to do two things:

1) suggest to the I18n GEO WG that a FAQ be developed spelling out how quotes should be handled which can then be used as a reference or hook for future documentation (for example, as an erratum on XHMTL 1.0)

2) to coordinate additional discussions as appropriate to address this issue.

Richard: can we proceed to coordinate between GEO and Core to develop this conent?

Core WG: any comments?

Best regards,


[1] http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/struct/text.html#h-9.2.2

[2] http://www.w3.org/TR/2004/WD-xhtml2-20040722/

[3] http://www.w3.org/International/2004/10/xhtml2-i18n-review.html

Addison P. Phillips
Globalization Architect, Quest Software

Chair, W3C Internationalization Core Working Group

Internationalization is not a feature.
It is an architecture. 

Received on Friday, 22 July 2005 16:34:45 UTC

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