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History/Future of localized list enumeration in CSS and HTML

From: Leif Halvard Silli <lhs@malform.no>
Date: Thu, 12 Feb 2009 18:44:28 +0100
Message-ID: <49945FFC.4020907@malform.no>
To: Daniel Glazman <daniel.glazman@disruptive-innovations.com>
CC: "www-style@w3.org" <www-style@w3.org>, "www-international@w3.org" <www-international@w3.org>

Daniel Glazman 2009-02-12 15.44:
> Leif Halvard Silli wrote:
> 
>> So the time seems to be right. Of course, as long as one *wants* to 
>> extend CSS with support for more lists.
> 
> Don't tell _me_ that. This module exists because I originally pushed
> for multiple numbering systems' support in CSS and wrote this document:
> 
>   http://www.glazman.org/specs/numberings.htm
> 
> very long ago.

(added CC to www-international)

OK - sorry. Thanks for updating me about the history. So we are on 
the same side w.r.t. getting more support in this area. Excellent!

It seems to me, however, when I look at that page of yours, that 
you have - for the non-Western scripts - been focusing not on 
alphabets used for alphabetisized enumeration (such as 
upper-alpha), but rather on traditional ways to use letters as 
numbers (such as "upper-roman").

So may be this is part of the background for why we have ended up 
with Georgian and Armenian the way it is - not too useful.

If we take this issue from the point of view of what you largely 
ignored in that page, namely alphabetical listings, then we 
should, very fast, be able to agree that there have been several 
alphabetical reforms over the centuries. Not least have there been 
some such reforms in the USSR - and also some after USSR.

Then, on top of that, there have been -and continues to be- 
different conventons and methods for using those alphabets for 
several kinds of lists. Both Russia, Ukraine and also CIS (the 
former USSR states) have agreed upon ways to use their alphabets 
in lists - without this being reflected anywhere in e.g. W3 standards.

Hence, to me, is seems necessary to be able to discern between 
different kinds list variants, even if (like for language 
tagging), it might be possible to use more general list-style type 
names on daily basis. (It is usually enough to tag an English text 
with the "en" tag, even if we may also tag it as "en-us" or 
"en-UK" etc.)

In the case of alphabetal lists, if - for instance - there were 
some list format called "upper-cyrillic", which defaulted to be 
equal to "upper-russian", then this list-format would be possible 
to use for most, if not all Cyrillic alphabets *up until* the 5th 
Cyrillic letter (in those Cyrillic alphabets I have checked). And 
as most lists are pretty short (how many list aren't made up of 
just 3 points - a, b, c?), this would be very useful.

Speaking about Cyrillic alphabets, I have documented slavic 
(Russian, Ukrainian, Belarussian, Bulgarian and Serbian) Cyrillic 
alphabetic enumeratin on this page:

	http://www.malform.no/cyrl/

And (most of) what is documentated on that page has allready been 
implemented in Prince XML.

Of the cyrillic formats set up on that page above, only the 
Serbian format is strictly alphabetic. All the other Cyrillic 
alphabetic list formats of that page omits characters, for 
different reasons that I shall not bother you with in this round. 
Suffice to say it that the examples found in the comment to the 
CSS list module published at www.ethiopic.org [1] is wrong, as it 
lists e.g. the full Cyrillic Alphabets, rather than the letters 
used for alphabetical listing.

In my own page (see above), I conferred LaTeX implementations and 
also conferred with some of those responsible for those 
implementations. Thus it is more based on "facts in the wild" 
rather than documented decisions by Language Concils or similar.

It would be interesting to know if e.g. Armenian and Georgian 
latex implementatios of alphabetic lists exist ...

[1] 
http://www.ethiopic.org/w3c/css/WD-css3-lists-20020220-comments.html#unicode
-- 
leif halvard silli
Received on Thursday, 12 February 2009 17:45:11 GMT

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