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Re: This week's article: Content Language


From: Jukka K. Korpela
Date: Jan 23, 2006 8:30AM

On Mon, 23 Jan 2006, Karl Dawson wrote:

> The article concisely explains what, why and how to write an
> accessibility-enhancing <html> tag.

First, when posting to the list, please use plain text in US-ASCII.
Using UTF-8 (for English text) and inaccessible pseudo-HTML helps nobody
and harms some people and E-mail software.

Second, don't overestimate the practical impact of language markup (it is
very small), don't confuse it with the XHTML issue (there is no tangible
benefit from using XHTML as distribution format on the WWW), and don't
confuse language issues with the xmlns attribute, which is XHTML issue
and thus irrelevant. Oh, and don't bother mentioning dir="ltr", which is
the declared default in HTML.

This leaves rather little. It's a good idea to declare the language
in the <html> tag, and in any major portion of text in another language in
the content, but this very little practical impact at present.

I wouldn't refer to W3C recommendations on this issue, since the WAI
guidelines require that you indicate _all_ language changes in document
content - yet the W3C itself fails to do this but visibly claims
conformance to WAI guidelines. (Language changes include all occurrence of
proper names in foreign languages. Nobody uses markup for them, so why
do they set up guidelines that require so and violate this in the
guidelines themselves?)

Jukka "Yucca" Korpela, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/