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On 18 Feb 97 at 10:01, Hans Aberg wrote:

> > but before going into interface questions, what are the items related
> > to language?
>
>   Two more:
>
> * Some languges, like Spanish, start exclamations and questions with an
> up-side-down interpunctuation mark. So one could think of this as a
> language dependent feature; one enters (logically) \Exclamation{Foo}, or
> \Question{Bar}, and the language package inserts the correct
> interpunctuation.
>
> * In Swedish decimal numbers, the use of "," and "." are reversed relative
> English, so a number that would appear as "123,456.78" in English, would be
> "123.456,78" in Swedish. So, this could be considered as a language
> dependednt feature; one enters (logically) \Number{..}, and the language
> package selects the correct output format.
>
I think these two do not qualify. ;-)
What is being proposed is too close to automatic translation for my
taste. (I am a native Spanish speaker ;-) so I should be biased in
favour of this example!, but anyway...)

However, I think this message is very useful in the context of this
discussion because it makes us think why these two cases are
different: these are examples of things that are so closely tied to
the language, that they can be put in the same category as words...
And I guess we all agree that we do not want to type \cat to get
"gato" in Spanish and "kissa" in Finnish!.

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.

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).

What should be handled by LaTeX3 are the cases of things that may
vary both between and within languages (especially English).

I wrote this without too much thought, but I hope that anyway it will
be of some use.

Pedro.


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