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proper coding or use for mdash

From: Joe Clark <joeclark@joeclark.org>
Date: Tue, 12 Mar 2002 16:51:17 -0500
Message-Id: <a05100313b8b428d04966@[]>
To: WAI-IG <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Cc: cjunior@nc-rj.rnp.br
Terminology: An em dash is an "em dash." An "mdash" only exists if 
it's surrounded by & and ;.

>In some portuguese language literature books, the mdash is often 
>used to indicate changes between characters in a dialogue.
>I would like to know what should be the proper way to markup 
>dialogues like this, using accessible HTML, without changing the 
>original text. Does using the entity &mdash; alone suggests it is a 

The correct character is actually the figure dash, &#8210;. Em dash 
&#8212; may look the same, but it isn't the same character (just as 
Greek SIGMA and SUMMATION look the same but aren't, or A in Latin, 
Greek, and Cyrillic alphabets). You can, however, use &#8212; anyway. 
It is a very minor and legalistic difference.

>Netscape4.x and IE5.5 don't render any punctuation marks for the q element.

Given lousy support for <q> and its poor typographic appearance, and 
given the fact that all the codes for opening and closing quotation 
marks are unambiguous, why bother using <q>? <q> is another of the 
W3C's half-arsed and misguided "structural" elements that are 
unusable in the real world.

>I even thought about using something like: <p>&mdash,<q>I had a 
>great time in Venice</q></p> So I could retain the original mdash 
>and use the proper quotation markup. But I've found some agents 
>doesn't render de &mdash; entity properly, since it is not ISOlatin1.

&#8212; renders even in Netscape 4.

You can try this CSS:

quotes: '&#8210; ' '' '' ''

That's figure dash plus space, then nothing, nothing, nothing (for 
opening outer, closing outer, opening inner, closing inner, 

     Joe Clark | joeclark@joeclark.org
     Accessibility <http://joeclark.org/access/>
     Weblogs and articles <http://joeclark.org/weblogs/>
     <http://joeclark.org/writing/> | <http://fawny.org/>
Received on Tuesday, 12 March 2002 16:52:24 UTC

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