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Re: How do I say 'this is not in any language' in XHTML/HTML

From: Jon Hanna <jon@hackcraft.net>
Date: Thu, 22 Mar 2007 15:52:33 +0000
Message-ID: <4602A641.5020508@hackcraft.net>
To: www-international@w3.org

Stephen Deach wrote:
> 
> What is the processing-side difference between "zxx" (no linguistic 
> content) and "art" (artificial)?

"art" means an artificial language that was created by someone or some 
group rather than through the cultural changes where the language 
doesn't have its own code (e.g. Esperanto is an artificial language, but 
has the code EO).

zxx means there isn't actually any lingusitic content there at all. E.g. 
the XHTML document

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" 
"http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd">
<html xml:lang="zxx" lang="zxx" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">
<head><title></title></head>
<body>
<p><img src="http://www.hackcraft.net/images/silverbirch/" alt="" /></p>
</body>
</html>

contains a picture of a tree and nothing else. Not necessarily a good 
idea most of the time (especially given the lack of anything useful in 
the title and the alt attribute), but it's a valid example of an XHTML 
document and it doesn't contain anything in any language.

A more useful example could be an RDF/XML document. RDF/XML can contain 
human-targetted information, which would be in a language, but an 
RDF/XML document could also be perfectly useful without containing any 
human-targetted information at all, and then would be a case of a 
document not containing linguistic content.

 From a processing point of view one can probably assume that zxx means 
that no language-dependant processing needs to be done. Generally either 
none of the types of processing where you are concerned with language 
will crop up, or else it won't matter what language (or "culture" or 
"locale" or similar concepts) is in effect.

Of course there could be cultural matters outside of language that need 
consideration (in the case of images in particular).

It can be handy to use the label with culture-neutral elements. E.g. if 
you have a French and English version of a webpage, each using two 
images (one localised, one neutral) then it could be handy to have:

page.html.en
iamge1.png.en
page.html.fr
image1.png.fr
image2.png.zxx

Or similar. This is possibly taking cultural matters beyond language 
into account in a way that can potentially be problematic, but in 
practice can work as long as one is clear about just what one is doing.
Received on Thursday, 22 March 2007 15:53:51 GMT

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