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Re: Natural language marking in HTML

From: Jonathan Rosenne <rosenne@NetVision.net.il>
Date: Sat, 08 Mar 1997 22:21:40 +0200
Message-Id: <>
To: www-international@w3.org (WWW-International List)
M.T. Carrasco Benitez wrote:
>There is a need to indicate monolingual docs. <HTML LANG=...> look like
>the right place as the meaning is "if I do not indicate otherwise, the
>text in this document is in language xx".  So, it should expect that the
>bulk of the language be the one indicate in <HTML LANG...>.
Not the bulk, rather the base. For example, if I were to write an annotated
version of the Treaty of Westphalia, it could well be that my page would be
Hebrew, the annotations in Hebrew, while the bulk of the text in Latin. The
LANG attribute on the HTML level would indicate Hebrew, while the lengthy
quotations of the treaty would have a Latin LANG.
The LANG attribute of the HTML tag only means what RFC 2070 says it means, and
that cannot be changed.
While we are at it, is there such a thing as a truly monolingual document in
the international environment? For example, in this document, which is
basically in English, there is a Spanish name (I hope I haven't offended
anyone, it looks Spanish). (It would have also contained a Hebrew name, had
English not adopted it centuries ago). The Oxford dictionary contains quite a
bit of French and other languages. 
Why is it so important to tell the difference between a monolingual English
document and an English document with inserts in other languages? Ther is no
historical basis for this distinction.


Jonathan Rosenne
JR Consulting
P O Box 33641, Tel Aviv, Israel
Phone: +972 50 246 522 Fax: +972 9 956 7353
Received on Saturday, 8 March 1997 15:22:33 UTC

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