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Re: XHTML 2.0 <datetime> element proposal

From: Philip TAYLOR [PC87S-O/XP] <P.Taylor@Rhul.Ac.Uk>
Date: Thu, 30 Oct 2003 15:35:19 +0000
Message-ID: <3FA12FB7.A73867C0@Rhul.Ac.Uk>
To: Lachlan Hunt <lhunt07@postoffice.csu.edu.au>
Cc: www-html@w3.org

Lachlan Hunt :

>  For example, someone writing a a schedule for an event would probably
> mark up some kind of calendar listing the dates, times and description
> of each activity at the event.  Then visitors to the site (who might be
> from a different country/culture) who recognise dates differently will
> still be able to understand and be able to attend at the correct time.

One problem is that what is unambiguous is not necessarily
what is also easily decoded.  For example, those in continental 
Europe and many Asian countries think and write their months as 
numbers --


for example.  Overlooking (for now) the ambiguity of this
v. American 


where month and day are transposed, for the rest of us there
is the non-trivial problem of mentally verbalising the month
in its canonical (spelt) form.  However, if one were to propose
that months be spelled out, then there is no guarantee that
"Kwiecie\'n" would be meaningful to non-Polish speakers, for
example, particularly as "Kwiecie\'n" means "April" in Polish
whilst "Kv\v eten" means "May" in Czech ... (presumably Spring
occurs earlier in Poland than in the Czech Republic).  

Thus we have a situation in which neither numeric nor spelled-out
months are inherently useful to those from other cultures (one
might say the same about the days of the week).  I offer no
solutions to this problem, and simply seek to reflect on what
appears to be quite a difficult problem ...

Philip Taylor
Received on Thursday, 30 October 2003 10:38:50 UTC

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