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Re: CSS2.1 :lang

From: Jukka K. Korpela <jkorpela@cs.tut.fi>
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2003 22:41:46 +0300 (EEST)
To: Chris Lilley <chris@w3.org>
Cc: Bert Bos <bert@w3.org>, Tex Texin <tex@i18nguy.com>, www-style@w3.org, W3c I18n Group <w3c-i18n-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.GSO.4.58.0310162227430.238@korppi.cs.tut.fi>

On Thu, 16 Oct 2003, Chris Lilley wrote:

> It would match those that have no language set.
>
> BB> But making it match elements with no language seems the most useful,
> BB> especially since it parallels RFC 3066.
>
> I agree, and that is also the definition of xml:lang="".

I don't quite understand the crossposting, but I suppose there is a
reason.

Anyway, what the XML specification says about the xml:lang attribute is
that "The values of the attribute are language identifiers as defined by
[IETF RFC 1766], Tags for the Identification of Languages, or its
successor on the IETF Standards Track." I see no way how an empty string
could be interpreted as an accepted value for the attribute.

By the HTML 4.* specification, the default value of the lang attribute is
unknown. This is really mystical, but it seems to postulate that there
_is_ a default value.

> I agree that CSS should not be required to know whether language tags
> have been registered or not.

If something is defined as being, say, a language code, then _some_
definition is needed for what those codes are. But CSS processors need not
know much about such things. They effectively treat language codes as
strings, without caring anything about their meaning; they need not know
whether "en" means 'English'.

In practical terms, :lang is pointless until support to language markup
in browsers becomes worth mentioning. Since the whole point in CSS 2.1
is to define a practical subset of CSS 2.0, I don't see why :lang is kept
there at all.

Besides, the actual meaning of language markup is still obscure. The whole
thing is vaguely defined, little used, and little supported, so it's
misleading to keep it in a specification that is supposed to describe
CSS du jour.

-- 
Jukka "Yucca" Korpela, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/
Received on Thursday, 16 October 2003 15:45:46 GMT

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