W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > March 2002

Re: CSS3 - Define Language

From: Tantek Çelik <tantek@cs.stanford.edu>
Date: Sat, 16 Mar 2002 21:22:54 -0600
To: Thomas Hurst <tom.hurst@clara.net>, www-style@w3.org
Message-id: <B8B9682A.7E7%tantek@cs.stanford.edu>
On 3/15/02 6:19 AM, "Thomas Hurst" <tom.hurst@clara.net> wrote:

> * Tyler Rasmussen (rasmo2000@hotmail.com) wrote:
>> I am currently working on a webpage using HTML and CSS for a forgiegn
>> language class at my school.  I find it very annoying to have to type:
>> <DIV class="es" lang="es"></DIV>
>> <DIV class="en" lang="en"></DIV>
>> Over and over again.
> Drop the class="" and use CSS 2 selectors and what's already been
> described in the HTML:
> div[lang="en"] {
>       color: black;
>       background-color: white;
> }
> div[lang="es"] {
>       color: white;
>       backgorund-color: black;
> }
> Unfortunately you'll need to go bug Microsoft to add CSS 2 selector
> support to IE, since this will currently only work in Mozilla and Opera,
> *grumble*

You'll first need to correct the common misconception of using attribute
selectors to select on language because it is incorrect, and doesn't work.

E.g. if the body has lang="en" then its children are also "en" by default.

<body lang="en">

The div is of language "en" even though the div itself does not have a lang

The selector you listed above: div[lang="en"]  will not select the div
precisely because the div does not have a lang attribute.


On 3/16/02 5:38 PM, "Thomas Hurst" <tom.hurst@clara.net> wrote:

> *[xml:lang="fr"] { .. }
> *[xml:lang="en"] { .. }

These are also incorrect for the same reason.

The _correct_ way to select elements based on language is with the CSS2
:lang() selector, e.g.

div:lang(en) {
      color: black;
      background-color: white;

div:lang(es) {
      color: white;
      backgorund-color: black;

Now, as far as implementations, IE5/Mac implements :lang() whereas I don't
know if any of the other browsers do.  You'll need to try them out and bug
their vendors accordingly.

>> I think it would work wonders for pages like this if you could define
>> the language of text inside a certain tag by the CSS document.  I
>> mean, really, language is part of the style of the document.
> No, language is part of the content of a document, since it refers
> directly to individual sections of text.
> Saying class="en" and defining language in the CSS actually reduces the
> value of the document, since you can no longer directly determine the
> language it's written in without going to the otherwise semantically
> useless stylesheet; especially bad if you're a search engine.

Completely agreed.

Received on Saturday, 16 March 2002 22:20:19 UTC

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