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RE: Primary Language

From: Richard Ishida <ishida@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 11 Nov 2004 14:28:30 -0000
To: "'M.T. Carrasco Benitez'" <mtcarrascob@yahoo.com>, <www-i18n-comments@w3.org>
Cc: "GEO" <public-i18n-geo@w3.org>
Message-Id: <20041111142830.4933C4EFF4@homer.w3.org>

Hello Tomas,

Here are my thoughts on your proposal.  I will start with this mailnote,
since it provides a clearer starting point, then in a separate note answer
smaller points that you raised elsewhere.

Firstly, let me note that our document does not attempt to redefine how the
technology is used or applied outside the parameters of what is possible
given the current situation.  GEO's remit is to give advice to content
authors about how to apply what's currently available.  If you want to make
substantive changes to the way language information is declared and used in
W3C technology, you should raise those requests separately, and they will be
dealt with by the I18N Core Task Force (send a note to Martin, who chairs
that TF).

I do not believe it is appropriate to advise declaration of 'primary
language' (by which I mean the metadata about the document as a whole) by
allowing the declaration in either of the three places you note below, for
the following reasons:

[1] The meta statement is not defined by the HTML specification, so its
relationship to <html lang=, is unclear. So implementing this approach would
require changes to the specification.

[2] Allowing two possible locations for in-document declarations will
decrease clarity about the best way to declare this information, make it
harder for applications to resolve such information, and increase the risk
of errors.  (In some ways this approaches the lang vs xml:lang situation you
are so unhappy with.)

[3] Imposing possible double-duty on the <html lang= declaration is not good
practise. It may not be generally recommended, but it is possible that an
author wants to declare a different primary language and default text
processing language, eg. the document is targeted at readers of Hindi, but
most of the navigational text is in English. In such a case, the precedence
of the <html lang= declaration would obviate the declarations elsewhere.

[4] An <html lang= declaration cannot be made to represent more than one
language, but has higher precedence than the other declarations.  This makes
it impossible to declare a document with multiple primary languages and
declare a language in the html tag (which may sometimes be reasonable).

Please see my next email for more detailed comments on previous points.


> From: www-i18n-comments-request@w3.org 
> [mailto:www-i18n-comments-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of M.T. 
> Carrasco Benitez
> Sent: 03 November 2004 16:06
> To: www-i18n-comments@w3.org
> Subject: Primary Language
> Primary language(s) could (i.e., optional) be specifed in the 
> three following nodes:
>   protocol (including the procotol "file"; i.e., the filename)
>    <meta http-equiv ... /> (several languages possible)
>      <html lang= ... >
> The root node is the "protocol", followed by "meta 
> http-equiv", followed by "html". The language(s) specified in 
> the highest node is the primary language(s). Normal 
> overriding by lower nodes apply.
> In the text stream, overriding could continue in lower nodes 
> (e.g., "body", "p").
> This fits with XML:
> "Language information may also be provided by external 
> transport protocols (e.g. HTTP or MIME). When available, this 
> information may be used by XML applications, but the more 
> local information provided by xml:lang should be considered 
> to override it."
> Regards
> Tomas
> ___________________________________________________________ALL
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Received on Thursday, 11 November 2004 14:28:31 UTC

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