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Internationalization Comments on HTML5

Date of first comments: Oct 2009

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ID Location Subject Comment Owner WG Ed. /
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1see commentwhat's the language of a document

Our proposal is as follows and is based on the text of the following sections:

http://www.whatwg.org/specs/web-apps/current-work/multipage/semantics.html#document-wide-default-language

http://www.whatwg.org/specs/web-apps/current-work/multipage/elements.html#the-lang-and-xml:lang-attributes

[1] Explain clearly that declarations in the http header and the meta element refer to the document as an object, rather than the text in a specific element (this is what makes the distinction between single and multiple values sensible).

[2] Continue to recommend that the document-wide default language be defined by a lang attribute on the html tag, but say that if the lang attribute is missing and there is a language defined in the http or meta, then those language declarations can be used to guess the language of the text, if they contain a single value.

[3] Establish the precedence between http vs meta.

[4] Establish the rule that multiple values in the place that has precedence equates to lang="".

This is very close to what we already have, but doesn't try to make the meta declaration a different thing than the http declaration, or change it so that multiple values are no longer valid. At the same time, it allows either the http or the meta to provide language information for text-processing, if the declaration is useable.

We also feel that the spec seems to restrict the use of the term 'document-wide default language' to refer only to a language declared using the meta, and this is rather odd. We feel that in fact the lang attribute on the html element also establishes a document-wide default language. (See the text: "Until the pragma is successfully processed, there is no document-wide default language.")

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Comments: Inline markup ok. Always escape < and >.

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