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Re: For review: 1 new and 3 updated articles about language declarations in HTML

From: Gunnar Bittersmann <gunnar@bittersmann.de>
Date: Mon, 22 Aug 2011 09:28:05 +0200
Message-ID: <4E520505.6090107@bittersmann.de>
To: www-international@w3.org
Leif Halvard Silli scripsit on Tue, 16 Aug 2011 15:33:20 +0100
> Is the '>  *' necessary? Why not rather do the following, if it is about
> the q element?:
> q:lang(en) { quotes: '“' '”' '‘' '’'; }
> q:lang(de) { quotes: '„' '“' '‚' '‘'; }

This might lead to the wrong result. The rendered quotaion marks should 
not depend on the language of the quote itself, but on the lingual 
context the quote is embedded in. In most cases, it’s the same language, 
but as I had written in a personal mail to Richard some days ago:
> In German typography, a quote in a foreign language should still appear
> in German quotation marks, i.e
> <p lang="de" xml:lang="de">Martin Luther King sagte: <q lang="en"
> xml:lang="en">I have a dream!</q></p>
> should be rendered as
> Martin Luther King sagte: „I have a dream!“
> not as
> Martin Luther King sagte: “I have a dream!”

The '>' combinator is necessary, because the above fragment might be 
embedded in a muiltilingual document, e.g. in <html lang="fr" …>. If 
there was

:lang(en) * { quotes: '“' '”' '‘' '’'; }
:lang(de) * { quotes: '„' '“' '‚' '‘'; }
:lang(fr) * { quotes: '«\A0 ' '\A0 »' '‹\A0 ' '\A0 ›'; }

in the stylesheet, the French quotation marks would falsely be rendered 
instead of the German ones, because both selectors ':lang(de) *' and 
':lang(fr) *' would match and of various selectors of the same specifity 
the last one wins.

However, I’m rather sceptical about the concept of CSS-generated 
quotaion marks in general.

A benefit of it is that it would be easy to change the rendering for a 
whole website, e.g. to change the rule for German quotaion marks from

:lang(de) > * { quotes: '„' '“' '‚' '‘'; }


:lang(de) > * { quotes: '»' '«' '›' '‹'; }

which is also correct German typography.

Otherwise, I think it causes more problems than it solves. A human 
translator might be more familiar with “ and ” than with <q> and </q> 
and would set the correct quotation marks for the target language.

In automated translation, quotation marks are one of the least problems, 
I guess.

IMHO the quotation marks belong to the text, e.g.

<p lang="de" xml:lang="de">Martin Luther King sagte: „<q lang="en" 
xml:lang="en">I have a dream!</q>“</p>

and should not be generated with CSS.

Bear also in mind that CSS-generated quotaion marks get lost when text 
is copied from a web page and pasted elsewhere.

The concept of CSS-generated quotaion marks would fail at all for some 
languages such as Russian:

— Заяц! Ну, погоди! — Волк кричал.

Волк кричал:
— Заяц! Ну, погоди!

— Заяц! — Волк кричал. — Ну, погоди!


«Заяц! Ну, погоди!» — Волк кричал.

Волк кричал: «Заяц! Ну, погоди!»

«Заяц! — Волк кричал. — Ну, погоди!»

would be correct punctuation, AFAIS from 

BTW, do you guys know the animated series “Nu, pogodi!”? 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nu,_pogodi! Search for it on YouTube and 
have fun! http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Nu+pogodi&aq=f

Received on Monday, 22 August 2011 07:28:29 UTC

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