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Re: Emphasis in East Asian scripts

From: Ambrose LI <ambrose.li@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 21 Sep 2011 11:43:48 -0400
Message-ID: <CADJvFOWCxPbbTOEwmrxTZ8LOfFoRWnATfzkXfxi0q-RKYW1b8A@mail.gmail.com>
To: Florian Rivoal <florianr@opera.com>
Cc: www-style@w3.org
2011/9/21 Florian Rivoal <florianr@opera.com>:
> On Wed, 21 Sep 2011 18:50:32 +0900, Daniel Glazman
> <daniel.glazman@disruptive-innovations.com> wrote:
>> I'm attending the W3C MultilingualWeb Workshop in Limeric, Ireland,
>> and a rather good question emerged related to the <em> element:
>>   should the <em> element be rendered using ‘text-emphasis-style'
>>   instead of 'font-style: italic' for East Asian languages using the
>>   :lang() pseudo?
> Not basing my answer on specs or existing implementations, just on what
> feels right, I would go with 'text-emphasis-style'. Regardless of how common
> it is, italic on Japanese or Chinese text is just weird.

It’s weird because oblique type simply does not exist in traditional
Chinese typography. It exists now, but only because computerization
has forced it into existence.

Italic type is structurally a cursive form, and I am of the opinion
that in Chinese (but probably not Japanese) this standardized cursive
form is what is known as the Kai types. Unfortunately they slant in
different directions than Latin italic types because of the differing
writing directions in the original cursive forms. So slanted type in
Chinese or Japanese text looks weird because instinctively we would
expect the forms to slant towards the bottom instead of to the right.

> Besides, if we do not use 'text-emphasis-style' here, it feels like it
> wasn't really worth telling everybody to use <em> instead of <i>.

The Chinese interest group is discussing this issue right now. But
personally I’d agree. This would be a great way to reverse the adverse
effects of computerization on the Chinese punctuation system.

>  -  Florian

Received on Wednesday, 21 September 2011 15:44:15 UTC

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