Re: Foreign Words and Phrases

=?iso-8859-1?Q?Martin_J=2E_D=FCrst?= (
Tue, 23 Sep 1997 15:38:59 +0200 (MET DST)

Date: Tue, 23 Sep 1997 15:38:59 +0200 (MET DST)
From: =?iso-8859-1?Q?Martin_J=2E_D=FCrst?= <>
To: Rob <>
In-Reply-To: <>
Message-ID: <Pine.SUN.3.96.970923153524.361I-100000@enoshima>
Subject: Re: Foreign Words and Phrases

On Mon, 22 Sep 1997, Rob wrote:

> On 22 Sep 97, Martin J. D=FCrst <> wrote:
> > [..]
> > > <EM lang=3D"it">Lega Nord</EM>
> > > =09This is also no good, because it implies an emphasis that I don't
> > > want in the document.  For the same reason, <CITE> and other traditio=
> > > italicized elements are no good.
> >
> > I guess this is what you will have to go with. If you want foreign term=
> > to be something different, which should be visible, then this is a sort
> > of emphasis. You are saying: Hey, here comes something special.
> > [..]
> I disagree completely. The purpose of using italics for 'foreign' words
> or phrases is for visual emphasis to tell the reader something is special
> about that word, though not necessarily logical emphasis. Hence EM is
> inappropriate if there is nothing *important* about the foreign word.

Sorry I have used words such as "semantics" and "logic" in earlier
postings. SGML/HTML are about *structure*. And foreign words definitely
have some *structural* emphasis in the contexts we are discussing.
They are something that somehow breaks the structure of plain text,
important enough to be emphasized.

> Italics provide a visual cue that something is special about the word
> without saying what that special attribute is. (It's assumed the human
> reader will figure out the difference between emphasis, flagging of
> non-standard/special/foreign words, and citations.)
> Using EM is deceptive and will throw off a speech renderer that might
> speak the world with added volume. SPAN is more appropriate.

That wouldn't be a mistake. There has to be some distinction between
the case that a foreign word is used without italics/emphasis and the
case it is emphasized as something special. Both cases exist, and it
would be wrong to not distinguish them aurally.