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Re: Chinese language and emphasis

From: Stephen Deach <sdeach@adobe.com>
Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2008 16:05:45 -0800
Message-Id: <>
To: Andrew Cunningham <andrewc@vicnet.net.au>, www-international@w3.org

A historical caution.
   People have been attempting to kill the use of <i> since the inception 
of Gencode[tm] (~1980 predecessor of SGML, then thru HTML, then thru XML). 
It isn't going to happen. Using <em> keeps getting proposed, but never 
gains traction.

My suggestion: treat <i> as if it was <em> for languages where "italic" is 
not a preferred representation. Add another tag if you "really" want shatai 
(the closest Japanese has to italic for ideographic glyphs).

At 2008.02.01-08:35(+1100), Andrew Cunningham wrote:

>I suspect that my concerns about the <i> element is that to my mind it is 
>presentational. I know that some people argue that it can have semantic 
>meaning. But it only has semantic meaning if you assume that all languages 
>and scripts on the web have to follow the typesetting and typographic 
>traditions of Europe.
>Note that the conventions for italicization only allied to print 
>publications, handwritten material and material prepared on a typewriter 
>often used alternative conventions.
>In the early days of the web, and even now, you'll find articles and posts 
>discussing how to bring good typographic practice to the web. Generally 
>this centres on the needs and concerns of English or a few other European 
>Just look a the core non-Latin fonts on a standard operating system. Some 
>scripts will only have one weight and style. Some fonts may be available 
>in two weights.
>It is rare for a non Latin, Cyrillic or Greek typeface to have an italic 
>or oblique version.
>Not even sure if I've ever seen an italic or oblique CJK font. I know I 
>don't have any installed on my system, despite the number of fonts 
>installed over the years.
>Even CSS3 is merely a step in the right direction. With a range of 
>Latin/Cyrillic typographic conventions well embedded in CSS.
>The styling of web sites should be responsive to language and the 
>typographic traditions of each language.
>KUROSAKA Teruhiko wrote:
>>>I'm wondering if anyone could answer a couple of questions for me. As I 
>>>understand it Japanese doesn’t use italics as a form of emphasis, so 
>>>using |<i>| tags around ideographic text is a big no no. Can anyone
>>Not necessarily.  Use of italic in Japanese text is rare but not wrong.
>>By the way, the <i> tag will no longer mean italic when the now draft HTML5
>>becomes the standard. Here's a quote from:
>>The i element should be used as a last resort when no other element is more
>>appropriate. In particular, citations should use the cite element, 
>>defining instances
>>of terms should use the dfn  element, stress emphasis should use the em
>>importance should be denoted with the strong element, quotes should be marked
>>up with the q element, and small print should use the small element.
>>Style sheets can be used to format i elements, just like any other 
>>element can be
>>restyled. Thus, it is not the case that content in i elements will 
>>be italicised.
>Andrew Cunningham
>Research and Development Coordinator (Vicnet)
>State Library of Victoria
>328 Swanston Street
>Melbourne VIC 3000
>Email: andrewc+AEA-vicnet.net.au
>Alt. email: lang.support+AEA-gmail.com
>Ph: +613-8664-7430                    Fax:+613-9639-2175
>Mob: 0421-450-816
>http://www.slv.vic.gov.au/            http://www.vicnet.net.au/
>http://www.openroad.net.au/           http://www.mylanguage.gov.au/

---Steve Deach
Received on Friday, 1 February 2008 00:06:58 UTC

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