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Re: natural language vs human language

From: Mark Davis <mark.davis@icu-project.org>
Date: Mon, 12 Feb 2007 10:20:51 -0800
Message-ID: <30b660a20702121020w39ba88b9x9b564df8a540e6bf@mail.gmail.com>
To: "Christophe Strobbe" <christophe.strobbe@esat.kuleuven.be>
Cc: www-international@w3.org
I think "natural language" is being used to contrast with "programming
language".

Mark

On 2/12/07, Christophe Strobbe <christophe.strobbe@esat.kuleuven.be> wrote:
>
>
> Hi,
>
> During a discussion on using "natural language"
> or "human language" in the context of WCAG, I
> noticed that W3C I18N documents use either
> "natural language" or just "language" [1]. For
> many linguists, "natural language" has a
> relatively well-defined meaning: a natural
> langage is one that has native speakers. I don't
> think that the I18N documents are meant to apply
> only to languages with native speakers and
> exclude or ignore artificially created human
> langages ("constructed languages" [1]) such as
> Esperanto, Volap√ľk, or Interlingua. On the other
> hand, I see no evidence that they also apply to
> computer languages such as Fortran or Python, so
> I assume these are not meant to be covered. So I
> wonder if the term "human language" would be more
> appropriate in those documents. (I apologize in
> advance if this issue has been discussed and
> resolved before; a Google search in the archives
> did not bring up relevant threads).
>
> [1] Examples
> * The following use the term "natural language":
>   - Internationalization Best Practices:
> Specifying Languages in XHTML & HTML Content
>     <http://www.w3.org/TR/i18n-html-tech-lang/>;
>   - Tutorial: Creating (X)HTML Pages in Arabic & Hebrew
>     <http://www.w3.org/International/tutorials/bidi-xhtml/>
>     (but only once at the end of the document);
>   - Best Practices for XML Internationalization
>     <http://www.w3.org/TR/xml-i18n-bp/> (just once);
>   - W3C I18N FAQ: Why use the language attribute?
>     <http://www.w3.org/International/questions/qa-lang-why>;
>   - W3C I18N FAQ: Two-letter or three-letter language codes
>     <http://www.w3.org/International/questions/qa-lang-2or3>.
> * The following just use "language", not "natural language" or
>    "human language":
>   - Ruby Annotation <http://www.w3.org/TR/ruby/>;
>   - Unicode in XML and Other Markup Languages
>     <http://www.w3.org/TR/unicode-xml/>;
>   - Authoring Techniques for XHTML & HTML
> Internationalization: Handling Bidirectional Text 1.0
>     <http://www.w3.org/TR/i18n-html-tech-bidi/>;
>   - Authoring Techniques for XHTML & HTML
> Internationalization: Characters and Encodings 1.0
>     <http://www.w3.org/TR/i18n-html-tech-char/>;
>   - FAQ: Monolingual vs. multilingual Web sites
>     <http://www.w3.org/International/questions/qa-mono-multilingual>;
>   - Setting the HTTP charset parameter
>     <http://www.w3.org/International/O-HTTP-charset>;
>   - FAQ: Multilingual Forms
>     <http://www.w3.org/International/questions/qa-forms-utf-8>;
>   - FAQ: Non-English tags
>     <http://www.w3.org/International/questions/qa-non-eng-tags>;
>   - FAQ: HTTP and meta for language information
>     <http://www.w3.org/International/questions/qa-http-and-lang>;
>   - Language tags in HTML and XML
>     <
> http://www.w3.org/International/articles/language-tags/Overview.en.php>.
> Of course, this is just a sample, not an exhaustive list.
> (A Google search for "human language" in
> http://www.w3.org/International/ returns exactly three results.)
>
> Best regards,
>
> Christophe
>
>
> --
> Christophe Strobbe
> K.U.Leuven - Departement of Electrical
> Engineering - Research Group on Document Architectures
> Kasteelpark Arenberg 10 - 3001 Leuven-Heverlee - BELGIUM
> tel: +32 16 32 85 51
> http://www.docarch.be/
>
>
> Disclaimer: http://www.kuleuven.be/cwis/email_disclaimer.htm
>
>
>


-- 
Mark
Received on Monday, 12 February 2007 18:21:05 GMT

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