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"Pedro J. Aphalo" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Mailing list for the LaTeX3 project <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 18 Feb 1997 15:29:13 +0200
text/plain (81 lines)
I am just replying to you, not the list now.

On 18 Feb 97 at 13:42, Hans Aberg wrote:

> "Pedro J. Aphalo" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>   The reason I put these up, was that it was asked for items to be
> collected that are "language dependent"; it was specifically asked for that
> these should not narrowly dependent on what might be implemented by TeX or
> in the LaTeX3 project.

o.k., but probably we have made different assumptions of what Frank
is looking for. Let's him decide. Anyway, by suggesting things that
are near the boundary of what is relevant and what is not, you have
raised the issue of where the boundary is... And discussing this, I
think, is even more relevant that cataloguing what might change when
switching languages!

>   Generally, I think there is not a clear boundary between actually
> providing automatic language translation, an unsolved problem, far beyond
> what one could achieve in the LaTeX3 project, and "language" customizing
> say quotes: There will be a scale of colours, rather than a black/white
> clear cut situation. Basically, what is needed, is getting hold of some
> semantic information, otherwise not resent in the actual typeset output,
> which is entered in the typing process. How much, depends on what is
> practically feasible.

I am very much in favour of including semantic information in a
source, but up to a limit. In my opinion
that limit is not set by practicality of implementation, but
practicality of use. For documents that are not going to be revised
or reformated, including semantic information usually implies a cost
with a very small return... that's why so many people use Word et al.
in office environments. If one is writing an article, a book or a
manual the cost/benefit changes in favour of generalized markup.
> >In my opinion what we need is:
> >a) defaults that change according to language for things like \date.
> >b) easy customization of what may depend on design, especially within
> >different or the same "flavo(u)r" of a language. For example typing
> >quotation marks using commands.
>   This is a discussion of implementation, not a collection of "language
> dependent" features.
Yes, I realize that I have drifted quite far from the original
thread... But I wanted to raise the point, that the most difficult
part is to handle those things that change both within and between
languages. (Of course, this is not at all related to you original

> >In the context of LaTeX3 I do not think we should worry too much
> >about what is specific to a language, but invariant within the
> >language. Such cases could be handled by language packages.  Of
> >course the hooks should be built into LaTeX3 so that language
> >packages can do the costumization without trouble (and so survive
> >across minor releases of LaTeX).
>   The problem is to define what a language really is, which is why it is
> interesting collecting features that varies with languages, or dialects, or
> subcultures, or groups of people crossing such boundaries.

I would refrase this to: the problem is to find out which design and
formatting issues are so tightly linked to language use, that we
cannot pretend that they are independent.


 Pedro J. Aphalo
 Finnish Forest Research Institute
 Joensuu Research Station
 P.O. Box 68, FIN-80101 Joensuu, FINLAND
 mailto:[log in to unmask]
 fax: +358 13 251 4567
 tel: +358 13 251 4406                         ,,,^..^,,,