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Re: Alternatives for the term 'primary language'

From: John Cowan <cowan@ccil.org>
Date: Mon, 26 Jun 2006 09:56:09 -0400
To: Richard Ishida <ishida@w3.org>
Cc: www-international@w3.org
Message-ID: <20060626135609.GC14749@ccil.org>

Richard Ishida scripsit:

> The new WCAG draft is using the term 'primary language' in a different
> way than we have defined it in  "Authoring Techniques for XHTML &
> HTML Internationalization: Specifying the language of content 1.0"
> [1].  There are other, older, uses of the term 'primary language'
> that also do not conform to our usage in this document.

Well, since you and Christophe Strobbe explain the terms "primary
[natural] language" in your respective contexts as the language of the
intended audience of the document, it seems that this is a distinction
without a difference, and you might as well retain the term, glossing
it as "the language of the intended audience of the document", and
explaining that it is not necessarily the predominant text-processing
language in the document, as in Chris Lilley's example of a text in Welsh
with commentary in English.

It should be noted that truly bi- or multilingual documents like
http://www.unicode.org/iso15924/standard/ have more than one primary
(natural) language, in this case English and French; the document is meant
to be equally accessible to those who have English but no French and those
who have French but no English, and the text appears in parallel columns.
Protocols and data structures should not assume, therefore, that a text
has only one primary language.

John Cowan      http://www.ccil.org/~cowan      cowan@ccil.org
Be yourself.  Especially do not feign a working knowledge of RDF where
no such knowledge exists.  Neither be cynical about RELAX NG; for in
the face of all aridity and disenchantment in the world of markup,
James Clark is as perennial as the grass.  --DeXiderata, Sean McGrath
Received on Monday, 26 June 2006 13:56:30 UTC

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