Re: HTML 3: Too many tags! (was re: Psychology and usefulness)

lilley (
Wed, 19 Jul 1995 17:08:22 +0100 (BST)

Steve Graham said:

[attribution deleted said:]

> >> Well, <Q> is a text level markup, like <I> and <B>. It is
> >> suggested that text within <Q></Q> be rendered enclosed with
> >> quotation marks, or other punctuation appropriate to the language.
> >> <BQ> is used to indicate a quoted passage of text is enclosed.
> >> The two are quite different, and I think <Q> should stay in, so
> >> that on your German browser, the quotations
> >> would be rendered as the double-greater-than/double-less-than marks
> >> (what are those called) and on English browsers, as "".

> 1, They are called "Left-Pointing Double Angle Quotation Mark" and
> "Right-Pointing Double Angle Quotation Mark"

And hopefully these two glyphs will have entity names in HTML 2.1, now
that the 2.0 standard gives a clear indication that a full set of named
entities should be supported. [1]

> 2, Moreover, there's no agreement on which is the "opening" or "closing"
> mark ... not even in the same language. (and the ISO definition is no
> help)
> In Germany, common usage is &raquo;Ich liebe Bier&laquo; and in
> Switzerland, it's &laquo;Ich liebe Bier&raquo;

[I have replaced the 8 bit characters with entity references in the
above, since folk have told me my mailer's quoted printable encoding
is broken ;-) ]

There are two possibilities here, and I am not sure which you mean.

1) You want the user agent to present all quotes in the way you are
used to.

2) You want to be able to explicitly author these two versions, such
as for an example of useage in different languages.

For the former case, this could readily be arranged as a preference,
ini, or app-defaults (delete according to taste).

In the latter case, one could code them in explicitly (but that then
makes the Q element a little redundant). Alternatively, this could be
handled quite well by the LANG attribute of the Q element [2]

I don't have a copy of ISO 639 handy (is there an online list of the two
letter codes?) but supposing the code for German to be de for the sake
of argument one could have:

<P LANG="">A German would write <Q LANG="">Ich liebe
Bier</Q> wheras a German-speaking Swiss would write <Q
LANG="">Ich liebe Bier</Q>.</P>

This is valid HTML 3.0 according to the DTD dated

Draft: Fri 24-Mar-95 09:46:33 [3]

The explanatory text seems to confirm this:

The <Q> element is used for a short quotation. It is typically shown
enclosed in quotation marks as appropriate to the language context. For
English these would be matching double or single quotation marks,
alternating for nested quotes. The language context is set by
the LANG attribute. New in 3.0. [2]


Chris Lilley, Technical Author
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