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Re: CSS2.1 :lang

From: Alexander Savenkov <w3@hotbox.ru>
Date: Fri, 17 Oct 2003 17:57:20 +0400
Message-ID: <1083171493.20031017175720@hotbox.ru>
To: www-style@w3.org, "Jukka K. Korpela" <jkorpela@cs.tut.fi>


2003-10-17T12:48:41Z Jukka K. Korpela <jkorpela@cs.tut.fi> wrote:


>> Its not; its also of use for searching, spell
>> checking, speech synthesis, and so forth.

> I know the arguments. Yet, actual use of lang and xml:lang attributes is
> very limited, and partly _wrong_. Try using lang="ru" for transliterated
> Russian text and view the page on IE and you probably see what I mean.

I can't see what you mean. Tell me what happens.

> (It is a fundamental flaw in language markup that there is no way to
> indicate the writing system. But language does not change when the letters
> are transliterated, does it?)

It does. Russians don't normally transliterate letters and it's hard
to read transliteration though a standard exists. Russian is currently
written in Cyrillic script only, changing it to Arabic or Lating would
change the language.


>> JKK> Besides, the actual meaning of language markup is still obscure.
>> JKK> The whole thing is vaguely defined, little used, and little
>> JKK> supported,
>> I invite you to back up those claims.

> OK, see http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/kielimerkkaus/
> It's in Finnish, so it might not be optimally accessible to you.
> Just to summarize a few points:
> - the writing system problem I mentioned above
> - the conflicts between the various meanings and purposes of language
>   markup; example: if a document (in a language other than English)
>   discusses CSS and mentions, say, the property name vertical-align,
>   should it be marked up as being in English (thereby making suitable
>   pronunciation possible, but confusing spelling and grammar checkers,
>   since it does not really obey normal English rules)

That's what the xml:lang="" is for. Markup your CSS examples with

<code xml:lang="">tr { vertical-align: top; }</code>

(because CSS is not a human language)

and a smart spell-checker will skip the block.

> - how do you deal with words and expressions that are commonly
>   used in other languages - is "fiancÚ", when used in English text,
>   a French word? what about "status quo"
>   (such problems don't exist when language codes are used e.g. as
>   for bibliographic purposes; but as you get down to individual
>   words and even morphemes, marking up _all_ language changes as
>   WCAG 1.0 requires, it's a huge conceptual problem, in addition
>   to being quite some work in practice)

A matter of taste and perhaps linguistic knowledgde. If you consider
fiancÚ or na´ve an English word (I do, as they're in dictionaries)
then mark them up as English.

> - what do you do with words that contain parts from different
>   languages?

Mark them up accordingly. If I had to write the word "web-page" in
Russian I would type (transliterated):

<span xml:lang="en">web</span>-stranitsa.

> - how do declare the language of data in attribute (e.g.
>   title="..." attributes), as required by WCAG 1.0?

This is currently solved by extracting all the
content-that-might-be-visible from the attributes.
See http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml2 for details.
Normally, I would expect the attributes to have the same language
with the element. It's written somewhere in the specs btw.

> - by W3C example, names are not marked up as being in their
>   respective languages; what might justify this, in the light
>   of reasons presented for language markup in general.

That is a problem. The W3C fellows who are responsible for markup
could easily figure out the origin of the people's names that are in
the spec but they don't do that for some reason. Masayasu Ishikawa or
Martin Duerst and even Marja-Riita Koivunen cannot be pronounced
appropriately (and therefore transliterated, e.g., into Russian)
without the markup.

  Alexander "Croll" Savenkov                  http://www.thecroll.com/
  w3@hotbox.ru                                     http://croll.da.ru/
Received on Friday, 17 October 2003 10:05:15 UTC

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