RE: lang attribute and not widely spoken languagues

Hi Graham,

According to the 508 final rule document,,
when the Access Board was investigating whether or not to include a standard
to require markup for language change (lang=) they asked Trace to
investigate the support of this feature. Trace found that Home Page Reader
and PWWebSpeak were the only assistive technologies with that support. The
latter is not 'active' today so that leaves HPR. Of course that support only
applies to speech engine languages included with HPR - about 7.

Bottom line is that the lang attribute is hardly supported at all, even for
common languages. I try to recommend that developers specify the language of
the document (lang attribute in the HTML element - a priority 3 guideline in
WCAG) because the language detection algorithms are flaky (I designed the
one for HPR). I recommend that because it is so very easy to do; it costs
almost nothing. Having that will help to facilitate support amongst screen
readers for the more general use of the lang attribute.

Accessibility Consulting

-----Original Message-----
From: []On
Behalf Of Graham Oliver
Sent: Tuesday, June 12, 2001 11:34 PM
Subject: lang attribute and not widely spoken languagues

I am trying to recommend on the use of the 'lang'
attribute in relation to a not widely spoken language.
(Maori, the native language of New Zealand)
I am struggling to see what benefit using lang="mi"
will have.

These are the reasons put forward by WAI

-Assisting search engines
-Assisting speech synthesizers
-Helping a user agent select glyph variants for high
quality typography
-Helping a user agent choose a set of quotation marks
-Helping a user agent make decisions about
hyphenation, ligatures, and spacing
-Assisting spell checkers and grammar checkers

Can anyone help me out with a real world example of
any of the above OR give a reason apart from any of
the above as to why to use the lang attribute.

Graham Oliver

'Making on-line information accessible'
Mobile Phone : 025-919-724
Work Phone : 09 846 6995
AIM ID : grahamolivernz

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Received on Wednesday, 13 June 2001 09:33:43 UTC