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Re: Nullifying insidious HTML 3.2 constructs

From: Laurens Holst <lholst@students.cs.uu.nl>
Date: Fri, 18 Feb 2005 17:30:19 +0100
Message-ID: <4216181B.3080307@students.cs.uu.nl>
To: Philip TAYLOR <P.Taylor@Rhul.Ac.Uk>, www-style@w3.org

Philip TAYLOR wrote:
> > And for foreign-word, use <dfn>...
> 
> But unless I am mistaken, <dfn> is intended to be used
> "to mark up terms which are used for the first time" [*];
> since most Latin phrases need no glossing (for an
> educated audience, at least), I would have thought that
> <dfn> was /in/appropriate unless it is really to
> be followed by a definition ...

Well, in common typography the italics on e.g. foreign or technical 
words is used to indicate the term is unknown, after which the 
definition usually follows. The succeeding instances of the term aren't 
rendered in italics, which is probably what the designers had in mind 
when creating this tag (and probably the best method to follow when 
creating markup :)).

But you shouldn't take it too strictly (as-in only on the first 
instance). If you really want to let the following occurances of the 
terms show up in italics as well, I think it is better to use <dfn> for 
the job than say, a <span>, or worse, <em>, which is just wrong.


> [*] http://www.htmlhelp.com/reference/wilbur/phrase/dfn.html

It would be better to quote the HTML specification :):

http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/struct/text.html#h-9.2.1

"Indicates that this is the defining instance of the enclosed term."


~Grauw

-- 
Ushiko-san! Kimi wa doushite, Ushiko-san nan da!!
Received on Friday, 18 February 2005 16:31:08 GMT

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