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Re: kelvSYC's Thoughts on the new XHTML Draft

From: John Lewis <lewi0371@mrs.umn.edu>
Date: Mon, 12 May 2003 12:15:19 -0500
Message-ID: <19492321552.20030512121519@cda.mrs.umn.edu>
To: www-html@w3.org

T. wrote on Monday, May 12, 2003 at 10:27:50 AM:

> I see <em> and <strong> not as too levels of emphasis, but as two
> "flavors". When reading text aloud, for example, I usually indicate
> an emphasized phrase by a change in pitch, but a "strong emphasis"
> by a change in volume. I've notice plenty of other people doing
> likewise. But an <em> within an <em> I would indicate not by a
> change in volume, but by a different pitch than the rest of the
> phrase.

The difference above is just as presentational as the difference
between italic, roman, and boldface text. You've just shifted the
media from visual to aural. The difference should still be handled by
CSS (or another style language). See aural style sheets:

> This is in keeping with standard typographical practices in print.

> I'd prefer it if <strong> isn't trashed, but if it is, I'll learn to
> live without it.

In a way I agree with you. It's much easier to map italic and boldface
text (or pitch and volume) to two separate elements, in keeping with
real world historical usage. On the other hand, when I really
considered what the actual meaning of the two elements are (emphasis
of two different degrees), I came to the conclusion that the strong
element only exists as a historical replacement for the b element, and
not because there's a semantic difference between emphasis and strong
emphasis that requires a unique element for each.

John Lewis
Received on Monday, 12 May 2003 13:28:18 UTC

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