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Subject: Language hints in UNICODE private use area
From: [log in to unmask]
Reply-To:[log in to unmask]
Date:Thu, 19 Jan 95 15:14:21 EST

text/plain (44 lines)

     David Goldsmith recently commented :
>Section 3.2.4
>This is probably the section I have the most problem with. Unicode 
>specifically was designed with the idea that attributes such as 
>language, fonts, etc. would be encoded out-of-band, via high level tags
>or even out of the character stream entirely.
     I tend to wholeheartly agreed with David's thought. I have great 
     reservations with the idea of using the UNICODE private use area for 
     encoding language hints. I have basically four reasons :
     1) As David mentionned Unicode was explicitly designed not to address 
     this issue.
     2) How do you generalise this idea with encodings where there is no 
     bytes left for language hinting ? I can write French, Dutch, English 
     and German, for instance, using ISO-8859-1 : do I have to use Unicode 
     even in a purely European setting so that I can tag texts ? What about 
     the fact that today the text base available is mainly in ISO-latin-1 ?
     3) It is easy to add, in upward compatible fashion, a tag called, for 
     example, <lang=...>. Browsers that do not understand the tag will 
     simply ignore it.
     4) I have the impression that this may not be the proper forum 
     (html-wg, http-wg) to discuss changes of interpretation of Unicode 
     characters or codes. I am not convinced that these changes will easily 
     be accepted by the Unicode consortium. It might be much easier to 
     create an html tag for this purpose. 
     Patrick Andries
     Alis Technolgies Inc.
     1+514+738 91 71

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