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Re: CSS2.1 :lang

From: Alexander Savenkov <w3@hotbox.ru>
Date: Sun, 19 Oct 2003 21:26:08 +0400
Message-ID: <231579914.20031019212608@hotbox.ru>
To: Henri Sivonen <hsivonen@iki.fi>
Cc: www-style@w3.org, www-international@w3.org


(Henri I decided to post your message on the list(s).)

2003-10-19T18:53:47Z Henri Sivonen <hsivonen@iki.fi> wrote:

> On Saturday, Oct 18, 2003, at 17:37 Europe/Helsinki, Alexander Savenkov 
> wrote:

>> 2003-10-17T19:05:02Z Jukka K. Korpela <jkorpela@cs.tut.fi> wrote:
>>> On Fri, 17 Oct 2003, Alexander Savenkov wrote:
>>>>> (It is a fundamental flaw in language markup that there is no way to
>>>>> indicate the writing system. But language does not change when the 
>>>>> letters
>>>>> are transliterated, does it?)
>>>> It does.

> If a person whose native language is Russian writes SMS messages in the 
> Latin mode (transliterating on the fly based on feeling without 
> knowingly following any standard) in order to write longer messages, is 
> the language being used not Russian?

No, it's not. It gets difficult to read if the standard is not
followed. Furthermore, it has to be clearly understood that using
non-standard/standard transliteration in SMS is just a hack. A hack!

> What about the language of IRC
> conversations conducted in the same manner because a Cyrillic input 
> method isn't available?

Cyrillic input is available on IRC and in SMS nowadays. Again,
temporary hacks are not to be taken into account.

>>> So what lang attribute should I use for transliterated Russian.
>> I think the answer is not to use transliterated Russian at all.
>> Transliteration was invented when there were systems that allowed
>> Latin characters only. The Web is not such a system anymore.

> However, there are *people* who only recognize transliterations even if 
> their software could render non-Latin characters. For example, if one 
> were to write in Finnish about Russian literature, it would be better 
> to use the transliterated versions of the names of the authors in order 
> to be understood. If I see the transliterated name "Dostojevski", I 
> recognize the name. I wouldn't recognize the Cyrillic version.

Look, we have to make a distinction between transliteration for home
use and transliteration for foreign use. In case of the names
transliteration for foreign use becomes a translation, often due to
historical reasons. E.g., you cannot say that the name of a Russian
tzar Peter the First is a transliteration of Russian version (Pyotr

>> For Russian, there is one and only GOST standard that should be used.
>> It's a state standard and iirc is accepted by the ISO.

> There are others for various target environments. Consider: Yeltsin 
> (English environment), Jeltsin (Finnish environment) and Eltsine 
> (French environment).

Exactly. Non of which represents the native pronounciation. The
language has been changed.

> As a practical matter (as already pointed out), it is safer not to mark 
> up the name as xml:lang="ru".

In this case it's not about safety. It's the only way to tell the
screenreader how to pronounce the formerly Russian version.

  Alexander "Croll" Savenkov                  http://www.thecroll.com/
  w3@hotbox.ru                                     http://croll.da.ru/
Received on Sunday, 19 October 2003 13:33:10 UTC

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