Re: Foreign Words and Phrases

Jordan Reiter (
Mon, 22 Sep 1997 17:30:28 -0500

Message-Id: <l03110705b04c9c0b7bc5@[]>
In-Reply-To: <Pine.SUN.3.96.970922140123.361n-100000@enoshima>
Date: Mon, 22 Sep 1997 17:30:28 -0500
To: "Martin J. =?iso-8859-1?Q?D=FCrst?="  <>
From: Jordan Reiter <>
Cc: Markku Savela <>,
Subject: Re: Foreign Words and Phrases

=7FMartin J. D=FCrst felt an urge to reveal at 7:08 AM -0500 on 1997-09-22:

> I'm really not sure. Emphasis doesn't mean that this is semantically
> of (highest) importance. In my eyes, it just means "this is somewhat
> different from the rest, important enough of a difference to warrant
> that this difference shows up somehow". As for specific italic, the
> cases where italic exists but isn't used for <EM> are probably rather
> small, too small to justify the costs of presentational markup.

Except that on non-visual browsers, and on some browsers incapable of
rendering italics, EM may show up as loud (in aural browsers) or big, or
bold, or even red.  I agree with what has seemed like a general consensus
for a while--there needs to be some way to refer to a non-normal language
term in a way that makes it clear that it is *not* that the language is
temporarily changing, but that a word or phrase that should be taken as a
whole item or concept has been introduced.

That's why I think some sort of element defining non-localized language
words and phrases should be included ASAP.  Suppose we call it, simply
"TERM"--I know, lousy name for an element but it's all I could come up
with.  Loosely (I would do DTD, but I don't know it, and I'm working on
figuring it out but it's awfully slow), the TERM attribute would be an
inline element.  I suggest, for the sake of simplicity of understanding,
that it shouldn't allow any style attributes within the element--otherwise,
the possible renderings would be mind boggling.  It could not be used for
block level elements, and would be discouraged for any excessively long
stretches of text.  In fact, pretty much anything longer than a sentence
should instead use the Q element with the lang attribute.  Some appropriate
examples of the TERM element might be:
   Many people were outraged at the devasting effects that the
     <TERM>laissez-faire</TERM> policy of the government had wrought.
   Without a question, <TERM>Ornithorynchus anatinus</TERM> is one of the mo=
     bizarre members of the animal kingdom.
   Arrogantly, the man said, "Your lack of knowledge has a certain air
     of--<TERM>je ne sais quoi</TERM>."
Suggested rendering would be italics.  Like other elements, it would have
the core attributes, which include lang, an optional addition.  Also, if
linking dictionaries are ever figured out, these words/phrases could link
to them in the same way that acronyms would.

[                    Jordan Reiter                     ]
[                 ]
[       "Don't you realize that intellectual people    ]
[        are all ignorant because they can't spray     ]
[        paint that small?"                            ]