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 Sender: Mailing list for the LaTeX3 project <[log in to unmask]> Subject: Re: International documents From: Frank Mittelbach <[log in to unmask]> Date: Sun, 16 Feb 1997 21:07:29 +0100 In-Reply-To: <[log in to unmask]> Reply-To: Mailing list for the LaTeX3 project <[log in to unmask]> Parts/Attachments: text/plain (95 lines) Narendra Ravi writes:  > > but before going into interface questions, what are the items related  > > to language? what are the answers to the above questions?  > >  > > good night  > > frank  >  > I have been following this discussion and agree with Frank. I have one  > request/suggestion. There must already exist a list of language dependent  > items under consideration. It will help a lot if this list is posted to  > this mailing list. This will give us an idea of what Frank is talking  > about. i don't know if there is a compiled list for babel or whether one has to get this out of the babel language files. perhaps Johannes can tell us if he has such a list (otherwise i might compile that list myself but that would take some time) Johannes?  > Judging from the discussion so far, the only issue of concern across  > different languages seems to be hyphenation. I'm sure several people will  > correct me :-). well, there is certainly more, although perhaps not discussed so openly. For example, the quotation characters differ in different languages traditionally. Unfortunately LaTeX in its current usage doesn't offer explicit markup for this, eg we neither have  Within an English sentence one could say \quotedphrase{Dies ist  ein deutscher Satz} or even ... nor \begin{...} ... \end{...} or even something like  Within an English sentence one could say \leftquote Dies ist  ein deutscher Satz\rightquote{} or even ... Instead we only have  .... '' as explicit markup (suitable for english) so that language support usually added explict support as well, eg the EC fonts do have << >> as ligatures for french quotes (also used by other countries) or the german package or the german option for babel offers "..."' (and also explicit command names) and so on there are many other examples and those mentioned already, eg the usual way of displaying chapter numbers and and and, all can be viewed as having to do with a language interface. however, the boundaries are vague, ie while it is kind of necessary to select the right hyphenation patterns for the current language (and even if there is not a single right choice but several there are clearly wrong choices, eg hyphenating english text using german hyphenation patterns is not that good even though you might want to use different patterns than those provided by knuth :-) the presentation of numbers is certainly something that allows are large variety applicable to many languages even though there might be rules or suggestions for certain languages.  > Dates are not really an issue, because, I consider dates to have a meaning,  > and authors are responsible for all content related issues. In my opinion  > both "Dec 10, 1996" and "9 Jan 1997" are OK. If authors choose to write  > the date in a different form, then they are risking misinterpretation. dates in itself might not be an issue although even this could be challenged in certain situations, that for certain type of documents (eg to avoid misinterpretation and to produce informtiy if for example some dates are generated automatically and others are manually entered by the users). but LaTeX offers a command called \today and in fact it probably should provide a command like \formatdate{}{}{} as well (which is not the case). Now this command \today is an abstract thingie, eg you might want to write something like   Printed \today in a document. thus in a line like that \today should not reply with a date spelled out in German, should it? In other words any textual string that it produced by LaTeX as part of the formatting of abstract contents, eg the word "Bibliography" produced by \begin{thebibliography} should match the language of the document. Of course there might be more than one possible solution for this and that is why one might need a flexible interface but clearly something needs to be there for such entities.  > LaTeX can and must only handle aspects of presentation and not interpret  > the content of documents. right, but that is an aspect of presentation of logical data at least for the \today case, for the others, as i said one cane argue depending on the application. frank `