[whatwg] contenteditable, <em> and <strong>

Henri Sivonen wrote:
> On Jan 9, 2007, at 23:29, Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis wrote:
>> Henri Sivonen wrote:
>>> I think using span with a style attribute is a bad idea in this case.
>>> Italicizing a word or two in a paragraph is not incidental style that
>>> could easily be considered optional.
>> Surely it /is/ an incidental style, since authors, publication houses,
>> and style guides vary in their preferences about when to italicize.
>> Surely it is the distinctions between foreign and native languages,
>> between emphasis and non-emphasis, between titles and non-titles, and so
>> forth, that are non-incidental, and that italicization imperfectly
>> reflects. The typography is not the message; it is only its shadow.
> Granted, but italics and bold are more sticky properties of the text 
> than e.g. font family, font size or column width, so it is a mistake to 
> treat all style properties as being equally incidental and expendable.
>>> It is a more essential part of
>>> the text that should be preserved when the content is formatted for a
>>> different display environment possibly with a different font.
>> How would a different font conflict with its italicization?
> It wouldn't. My point was that italic and bold are stickier or closer to 
> being part of content than the font.

That depends, actually, on the language. Browsing the Chinese journal
section of a university East Asian Library, I noticed that the Chinese
journals didn't use normal/italics -- instead they switched the style of
font between their equivalents of serif and cursive. Granted these switches
were on a per-paragraph level in the text I saw, but East Asian typesetting
tends not to use italics in general. They have other means of indicating
emphasis: various underlining styles, bold, (in Japanese) a switch to katakana,
and "emphasis marks" which are placed above/below/beside individual characters
in an emphasized phrase. East Asian texts also don't use italics for works
titles: they have a set of special punctuation for that. You can argue that
italics and bold should be strictly equivalent to em and strong because all
that matters is that their presentation is the same, but that argument doesn't
hold up for non-Latin texts. Restyling <em> sitewide to use 'text-emphasis'
instead of 'font-style: italic' would be a nifty thing on a Japanese website.
Restyling <i> the same way would just be silly.


Received on Wednesday, 10 January 2007 01:40:47 UTC