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Re: Emphasis in East Asian scripts

From: John Daggett <jdaggett@mozilla.com>
Date: Wed, 21 Sep 2011 22:25:14 -0700 (PDT)
To: Daniel Glazman <daniel.glazman@disruptive-innovations.com>
Cc: www-style@w3.org, HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <2048738132.103392.1316669114035.JavaMail.root@zimbra1.shared.sjc1.mozilla.com>

Daniel Glazman wrote:

> I'm attending the W3C MultilingualWeb Workshop in Limeric, Ireland,
> and a rather good question emerged related to the <em> element:
>    should the <em> element be rendered using ‘text-emphasis-style'
>    instead of 'font-style: italic' for East Asian languages using the
>    :lang() pseudo?

Assuming your talking about the default style for <em>, in theory,
yes, that would seem like a more appropriate choice.  As others have
pointed out, there isn't a historical tradition of obliquing to
indicate emphasis in East Asian scripts.

However, in practice, users *expect* obliquing because that's the
current pattern.  Most Japanese fonts lack italic faces but Japanese
users will complain if text is not obliqued within <em> elements
(which I can confirm, having fixed these types of bugs).  In a way,
the prevalence of synthetic obliquing in all browsers (and WYSIWIG
editors before that) has induced new typographic traditions, whether
you judge them good or bad.

So I would advise against changing the default here at this stage.  Once
'text-emphasis-style' is widely implemented, it may be easier to switch
as authors start to use this more widely.


John Daggett
Received on Thursday, 22 September 2011 05:25:42 UTC

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