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Re: XML Core WG needs input on xml:lang=""

From: John Cowan <jcowan@reutershealth.com>
Date: Fri, 2 Aug 2002 10:28:13 -0400 (EDT)
Message-Id: <200208021441.KAA06730@mail2.reutershealth.com>
To: asgilman@iamdigex.net (Al Gilman)
Cc: jcowan@reutershealth.com (John Cowan), w3c-xml-plenary@w3.org, w3c-i18n-ig@w3.org, xml-editor@w3.org, w3c-xml-core-wg@w3.org

Al Gilman scripsit:

> This assertion is fatuous.  Un-enforceably vague.

Note that I corrected this paragraph in a follow-up posting.

> The 'und' mark at least is well posed, if it means "one of the defined
> language labels applies, but we don't know which."  This is a union type.

No, it may also mean that no existing tag applies because the language is
not known.  For example, the writing system Linear A records an unknown
language.  Similarly, the language of an audio recording may not be known
for a variety of reasons.

> Distinguishing between 
> a) a natural language for which there is no label registered
> b) "not a natural language"
> has no portable definition among different agents applying 'lang' attribute
> values, and hence should not be presumed known by these agents.
In any case, "und" is a side issue.

> However, for practical purposes a 'nil' on 'lang' inside a natural-language
> context will be sufficient to disabuse the processor of following the rules
> of the natural language in the enclosing scope.

The code "nil" is not currently assigned, but it is within the scope of
the ISO 639-2 registration authority to assign it, so it cannot be
used.  The code "" cannot be assigned by ISO 639-2.

> Process question --
> who defines the 'und' token?  Is this a meta-value defined in the IETF RFC,
> or is this an invention of XSD Types or of XML?

The ISO 639-2 registration authority, which underlies all the others
you mention.

> Introducing the suggested sense for the null string would appear to be a bad
> idea on the grounds that the sense bound to this sign is ill-posed, not
> interoperable.  So don't go there.

It has the same semantics as not using an xml:lang tag at all.

John Cowan                              <jcowan@reutershealth.com>
http://www.reutershealth.com            http://www.ccil.org/~cowan
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Received on Friday, 2 August 2002 10:31:00 UTC

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