<q> and language-specific quotation marks

Discussion in 'HTML' started by Tristan Miller, Oct 11, 2003.

  1. Greetings.

    Do any popular browsers correctly support <q>, at least for Western
    languages? I've noticed that Mozilla uses the standard English
    double-quote character, ", regardless of the lang attribute of the HTML
    document. Will any browsers render German-style quotes or French-style
    guillemots for lang="de" and lang="fr", respectively?

    Regards,
    Tristan

    --
    _
    _V.-o Tristan Miller [en,(fr,de,ia)] >< Space is limited
    / |`-' -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= <> In a haiku, so it's hard
    (7_\\ http://www.nothingisreal.com/ >< To finish what you
     
    Tristan Miller, Oct 11, 2003
    #1
    1. Advertising

  2. Tristan Miller

    kayodeok Guest

    Tristan Miller <> wrote in
    news::

    > Greetings.
    >
    > Do any popular browsers correctly support <q>, at least for
    > Western languages? I've noticed that Mozilla uses the standard
    > English double-quote character, ", regardless of the lang
    > attribute of the HTML document. Will any browsers render
    > German-style quotes or French-style guillemots for lang="de" and
    > lang="fr", respectively?


    IE doesn't support <q>

    Getting quote marks around <q> tags in IE
    http://groups.google.com/groups?threadm=

    --
    Kayode Okeyode
    http://www.kayodeok.co.uk/weblog/
     
    kayodeok, Oct 11, 2003
    #2
    1. Advertising

  3. Tristan Miller

    Darth Ferret Guest

    H.F. ?

    "Tristan Miller" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Greetings.
    >
    > Do any popular browsers correctly support <q>, at least for Western
    > languages? I've noticed that Mozilla uses the standard English
    > double-quote character, ", regardless of the lang attribute of the HTML
    > document. Will any browsers render German-style quotes or French-style
    > guillemots for lang="de" and lang="fr", respectively?
    >
    > Regards,
    > Tristan
    >
    > --
    > _
    > _V.-o Tristan Miller [en,(fr,de,ia)] >< Space is limited
    > / |`-' -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= <> In a haiku, so it's hard
    > (7_\\ http://www.nothingisreal.com/ >< To finish what you
    >
     
    Darth Ferret, Oct 11, 2003
    #3
  4. Tristan Miller

    Brian Guest

    Tristan Miller wrote:
    >
    > Do any popular browsers correctly support <q>, at least for Western
    > languages? I've noticed that Mozilla uses the standard English
    > double-quote character, ", regardless of the lang attribute of the HTML
    > document. Will any browsers render German-style quotes or French-style
    > guillemots for lang="de" and lang="fr", respectively?


    Mozilla displays French language quote delimiters with the following
    in css:

    [lang="fr"] {
    quotes: '« ' ' »'
    }

    German could be handled in a similar fashion.

    [lang="de"] {
    quotes: '„' '"'
    }

    I don't know German nearly well enough to write in it, so I've never
    actually used the second example.

    --
    Brian
    follow the directions in my address to email me
     
    Brian, Oct 11, 2003
    #4
  5. Tristan Miller <> wrote:

    > Do any popular browsers correctly support <q>


    No.

    > I've noticed that Mozilla uses the standard English
    > double-quote character, ", regardless of the lang attribute of the
    > HTML document.


    If you mean what you wrote, the Ascii quotation mark, then it's
    definitely not _standard_ for English, or any language (except computer
    "languages"). It's just the worldwide common surrogate.

    > Will any browsers render German-style quotes or
    > French-style guillemots for lang="de" and lang="fr", respectively?


    Only if you write them as actual characters (and then the lang
    attribute is immaterial in this issue). Why wouldn't you do that? We
    can use language-specific punctuation characters for other things (such
    as inverted question mark at the start of a question in languages that
    require it), and seldom do we see requests to dispense with that by
    using markup (like <question>) instead. What's so special about
    quotations, then?

    Beware that attempts to make browsers implement <q> by using CSS are
    generally not successful and that _correct_ use of quotation marks is
    trickier than people think.

    Anyway, <q> was good idea as described (as an example) in the SGML
    standard, but HTML did not adopt the idea early enough (and well
    enough), and now it's too late. Just forget <q>.

    --
    Yucca, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/
    Pages about Web authoring: http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/www.html
     
    Jukka K. Korpela, Oct 11, 2003
    #5
  6. Tristan Miller

    Micah Cowan Guest

    Tristan Miller <> writes:

    > Greetings.
    >
    > Do any popular browsers correctly support <q>, at least for Western
    > languages? I've noticed that Mozilla uses the standard English
    > double-quote character, ", regardless of the lang attribute of the HTML
    > document. Will any browsers render German-style quotes or French-style
    > guillemots for lang="de" and lang="fr", respectively?


    AIUI, a browser is not required to make allowances for the
    declared language; if you want these changes, you are supposed to
    use CSS to specify them (shameless snippet from CSS2 spec:)

    Q:lang(en) { quotes: '"' '"' "'" "'" }
    Q:lang(no) { quotes: "«" "»" "<" ">" }

    ....however, to my knowledge, neither Mozilla nor MSIE support
    this. Mozilla uses " " ' ' regardless of what you specify using
    CSS; and MSIE (last I checked) doesn't support the <q> element
    properly at all. I think Opera might, but since that's not very
    mainstream, it probably won't help you much.

    -Micah
     
    Micah Cowan, Oct 12, 2003
    #6
  7. Micah Cowan <> wrote:

    > AIUI, a browser is not required to make allowances for the
    > declared language;


    The HTML specification says: "User agents should render quotation marks
    in a language-sensitive manner (see the lang attribute)." In that
    sense, it's not a requirement for conformance to recommendation, just a
    recommendation in the recommendation. :) On the other hand, it is a
    bit unrealistic to say that user agents should behave that way, since
    it is rather hard to support all the thousands of languages, even in a
    detail like this, since official information on punctuation rules is
    not easy to find.

    > if you want these changes, you are supposed to
    > use CSS to specify them


    No, you're not. The HTML specification says that browsers should do
    such things automatically. And in practical terms, <q> markup is
    useless.

    > (shameless snippet from CSS2 spec:)
    >
    > Q:lang(en) { quotes: '"' '"' "'" "'" }
    > Q:lang(no) { quotes: "«" "»" "<" ">" }


    How typical. Both rules are completely wrong, by the rules of those
    languages. Correct English orthography uses none of the characters
    listed, and Norwegian surely does not use less than sign and greater
    than sign as inner quotes.

    To repeat myself: Forget <q>. Use plain Ascii quotation marks, unless
    you _know_ the correct use of punctuation characters in the language of
    the context where the quotation appears and you can be reasonably sure
    that browsers support those characters well enough. And when estimating
    whether you _know_ such issues, it is useful to remember that the
    authors of the CSS specification didn't have a clue.

    --
    Yucca, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/
    Pages about Web authoring: http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/www.html
     
    Jukka K. Korpela, Oct 12, 2003
    #7
  8. Tristan Miller

    Micah Cowan Guest

    "Jukka K. Korpela" <> writes:

    > Micah Cowan <> wrote:
    >
    > > AIUI, a browser is not required to make allowances for the
    > > declared language;

    >
    > The HTML specification says: "User agents should render quotation marks
    > in a language-sensitive manner (see the lang attribute)." In that
    > sense, it's not a requirement for conformance to recommendation, just a
    > recommendation in the recommendation. :) On the other hand, it is a
    > bit unrealistic to say that user agents should behave that way, since
    > it is rather hard to support all the thousands of languages, even in a
    > detail like this, since official information on punctuation rules is
    > not easy to find.
    >
    > > if you want these changes, you are supposed to
    > > use CSS to specify them

    >
    > No, you're not. The HTML specification says that browsers should do
    > such things automatically.


    SHOULD and MUST are very different--formally. You *are* supposed
    to use CSS if you want to force a conforming user-agent to Do The
    Right Thing(TM). However, since there don't seem to be any
    conforming user-agents... <grin>.

    > And in practical terms, <q> markup is useless.


    Yeah, which sucks.

    > > (shameless snippet from CSS2 spec:)
    > >
    > > Q:lang(en) { quotes: '"' '"' "'" "'" }
    > > Q:lang(no) { quotes: "«" "»" "<" ">" }

    >
    > How typical. Both rules are completely wrong, by the rules of those
    > languages. Correct English orthography uses none of the characters
    > listed, and Norwegian surely does not use less than sign and greater
    > than sign as inner quotes.


    Agreed about (en); although even if it had been correct, I didn't
    post using an encoding that would have allowed more appropriate
    ones.

    As to (no); you're right, that's stupid. That's how they were in
    the CSS2 standard, though (should've been ‹ and › I
    believe)

    > To repeat myself: Forget <q>.


    But only until the stupid mainstream browsers (IOW, MSIE) get it
    right. However, someone pointed out elsethread that apparently newer
    versions Mozilla *can* get it right. Yay!

    > Use plain Ascii quotation marks


    Why? Every browser I've seen supports &ldquo;, &rdquo;,
    etc. Currently, the articles I've written in DocBook which use
    DocBook's <quote> element are translated using these (and the
    single-quote equivalents).

    >, unless
    > you _know_ the correct use of punctuation characters in the language of
    > the context where the quotation appears and you can be reasonably sure
    > that browsers support those characters well enough.


    But when you *don't* know this, are you sure that the Ascii
    quotation marks are appropriate?

    -Micah
     
    Micah Cowan, Oct 12, 2003
    #8
  9. Tristan Miller

    Tina Holmboe Guest

    "Jukka K. Korpela" <> exclaimed in <Xns94126199E8EE3jkorpelacstutfi@193.229.0.31>:

    > such things automatically. And in practical terms, <q> markup is
    > useless.


    So. In practical terms, marking up an inline quotation as an inline
    quotation is useless.

    This is good to know.

    --
    - Tina Holmboe Greytower Technologies
    http://www.greytower.net/
    [+46] 0708 557 905
     
    Tina Holmboe, Oct 12, 2003
    #9
  10. Micah Cowan <> wrote:

    > SHOULD and MUST are very different--formally.


    Theoretically HTML 4 specifications use RFC language here, but in
    practice their wording is not that formal. Anyway, by the RFC language,
    the statement that browsers SHOULD "render quotation marks in a
    language-sensitive manner" means that "there may exist valid reasons in
    particular circumstances to ignore [that statement] particular item,
    but the full implications must be understood and carefully weighed
    before choosing a different course". So if an implementator has
    understood the full implications etc. and decided not to make a user
    agent behave that way, what makes us think that an author knows better?

    > You *are* supposed
    > to use CSS if you want to force a conforming user-agent to Do The
    > Right Thing(TM).


    No, of course not. First, HTML specifications do not postulate any use
    of CSS. They are meant to be used without a style sheet, with CSS style
    sheets, or with other style sheet. Second, author style sheets (by
    design and by implementation) certainly cannot force anything. Third, a
    duplicate implementation of quotation mark rendering would be a shot in
    the dark. A browser programmer can be in a position to _know_ that e.g.
    curly quotes are not available in a rendering situation and use Ascii
    quotation marks instead, and if an author style sheet tries to force
    curly quotes, it could end up with having no quotes rendered.

    > Agreed about (en); although even if it had been correct, I didn't
    > post using an encoding that would have allowed more appropriate
    > ones.


    Surely you could write a style sheet in Ascii only and yet use any
    Unicode character in generated content.

    > As to (no); you're right, that's stupid. That's how they were in
    > the CSS2 standard, though (should've been ‹ and › I
    > believe)


    No, notations like ‹ have no meaning in CSS.

    >> To repeat myself: Forget <q>.

    >
    > But only until the stupid mainstream browsers (IOW, MSIE) get it
    > right.


    They'll never get it right. It'll take several years before the next
    version of MSIE exists and has over 50 % share of MSIE installations.
    And that's virtual eternity. Especially since by that time <q> will
    have been officially deprecated or obsolete for years.

    >> Use plain Ascii quotation marks

    >
    > Why? Every browser I've seen supports &ldquo;, &rdquo;,
    > etc.


    Then you haven't seen enough. Ascii quotation marks are _safe_, as I
    wrote. If you consider using real quotation marks, then you should at
    least refrain from using those quasi-mnemonic entity references and use
    character references instead.

    >>, unless
    >> you _know_ the correct use of punctuation characters in the
    >> language of the context where the quotation appears and you can be
    >> reasonably sure that browsers support those characters well
    >> enough.

    >
    > But when you *don't* know this, are you sure that the Ascii
    > quotation marks are appropriate?


    Ascii quotation marks are still the safest way. It's true that these
    days, the number of browsers that fail to render the character
    references for curly quotes properly is rather small - but yet not
    zero, and users are accustomed to seeing Ascii quotation marks, so this
    is not a big issue. I'm personally moving towards using "smart"
    quotation marks on new pages, especially since it's awkward to change
    such things later - I cannot just do a simple editing operation to
    change Ascii quotation marks to any smart characters, since Ascii
    quotation marks are used for HTML markup (attribute value delimiters).

    Besides, there are other problems with correct quotation marks, even
    the guillemets. The guillemets are technically rather safe, being
    ISO 8859-1 characters, but the clueless line breaking rules in browsers
    cause quite some trouble (see
    http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/html/nobr.html ).

    --
    Yucca, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/
    Pages about Web authoring: http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/www.html
     
    Jukka K. Korpela, Oct 12, 2003
    #10
  11. (Tina Holmboe) wrote:

    >> such things automatically. And in practical terms, <q> markup is
    >> useless.

    >
    > So. In practical terms, marking up an inline quotation as an inline
    > quotation is useless.


    Yes, because no software actually uses such markup for useful purposes,
    _and_ the theoretically available markup is poorly designed.

    > This is good to know.


    It is, is it not? Similarly, marking up a question as a question would
    be useless, if <question> markup existed but had been defined so that
    browsers should insert language-specific quotation mark(s) and they
    actually did not do that and no search engine or other useful software
    used that markup either.

    We can still survive, can't we? The question mark is available, and so
    are quotation marks. Actually, both a question mark and the quotation
    marks are effectively markup - at the text level. If anyone wishes to
    write an indexing robots that recognizes quotations, he could start
    from recognizing strings delimited by quotation marks. (One might
    consider treating <blockquote> as indicating quotation, but abuse is so
    widespread that this would not be pragmatically wise.)

    --
    Yucca, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/
    Pages about Web authoring: http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/www.html
     
    Jukka K. Korpela, Oct 12, 2003
    #11
  12. Jukka K. Korpela wrote:

    > Especially since by that time <q> will
    > have been officially deprecated or obsolete for years.


    It is already gone int eh XHTML 2 drafts. Replaced by <quote>, that will
    have more realistic demands on quote marks -- the author inserts them
    directly into the XHTML:

    <quote xml:lang="en">"Hello"</quote>

    IIRC

    --
    Toby A Inkster BSc (Hons) ARCS
    Contact Me - http://www.goddamn.co.uk/tobyink/?id=132
     
    Toby A Inkster, Oct 12, 2003
    #12
  13. Tristan Miller

    Tina Holmboe Guest

    "Jukka K. Korpela" <> exclaimed in <Xns9413AF101662jkorpelacstutfi@193.229.0.31>:

    > (Tina Holmboe) wrote:
    >
    >>> such things automatically. And in practical terms, <q> markup is
    >>> useless.

    >>
    >> So. In practical terms, marking up an inline quotation as an inline
    >> quotation is useless.

    >
    > Yes, because no software actually uses such markup for useful purposes,
    > _and_ the theoretically available markup is poorly designed.


    Oddly enough, such tools exist. I can only guess that you find the Mozilla
    solution "useless", but even Mark Pilgrim has a script for extracting
    quotations.



    > are quotation marks. Actually, both a question mark and the quotation
    > marks are effectively markup - at the text level. If anyone wishes to
    > write an indexing robots that recognizes quotations, he could start
    > from recognizing strings delimited by quotation marks. (One might


    In Finnish - of which I know nothing - it might be that quotation marks
    are always used to signify actual quotations. Such is not the case in
    other languages.

    How you intend to attach citation information to that text level markup
    I cannot even begin to guess at.

    Are we going to start writing browsers that use heuristic algorithms to
    determine whether a random piece of text is one thing or the other ? That
    might be amusing, but I fail to see it being helpful to anyone.

    Be all of this as it may. So far I have not seen a sensible explanation of
    why the *name* of the element had to change.

    --
    - Tina Holmboe Greytower Technologies
    http://www.greytower.net/
    [+46] 0708 557 905
     
    Tina Holmboe, Oct 12, 2003
    #13
  14. Tristan Miller

    Stan Brown Guest

    In article <> in
    comp.infosystems.www.authoring.html, Toby A Inkster
    <> wrote:
    ><quote xml:lang="en">"Hello"</quote>


    I'm trying hard to understand what advantage that has over

    "Hello"

    but I'm failing.

    --
    Stan Brown, Oak Road Systems, Cortland County, New York, USA
    http://OakRoadSystems.com/
    HTML 4.01 spec: http://www.w3.org/TR/html401/
    validator: http://validator.w3.org/
    CSS 2 spec: http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-CSS2/
    2.1 changes: http://www.w3.org/TR/CSS21/changes.html
    validator: http://jigsaw.w3.org/css-validator/
     
    Stan Brown, Oct 13, 2003
    #14
  15. Stan Brown:

    >><quote xml:lang="en">"Hello"</quote>


    > I'm trying hard to understand what advantage that has over


    > "Hello"


    > but I'm failing.


    Let's say you want to do this:

    quote {
    font-style: italic;
    }

    You can of course add a meaningless "span" to your unstylable piece of
    naked text, but wouldn't a meaningful element be better?

    --
    Bertilo Wennergren <> <http://www.bertilow.com>
     
    Bertilo Wennergren, Oct 13, 2003
    #15
  16. Micah Cowan <> wrote:

    > Every browser I've seen supports &ldquo;, &rdquo;,


    Young boy!
     
    Andreas Prilop, Oct 13, 2003
    #16
  17. Stan Brown wrote:

    > In article <> in
    > comp.infosystems.www.authoring.html, Toby A Inkster
    > <> wrote:
    >><quote xml:lang="en">"Hello"</quote>

    >
    > I'm trying hard to understand what advantage that has over
    > "Hello"
    > but I'm failing.


    You're right. Scrap it. Scrap <strong> too -- we can just mark important
    text *like* *this*.

    --
    Toby A Inkster BSc (Hons) ARCS
    Contact Me - http://www.goddamn.co.uk/tobyink/?id=132
    playing://Random/peter_stuart_-_waiting_for_peace_to_come.ogg
     
    Toby A Inkster, Oct 13, 2003
    #17
  18. Tristan Miller

    Micah Cowan Guest

    "Jukka K. Korpela" <> writes:

    > Micah Cowan <> wrote:
    >
    > > SHOULD and MUST are very different--formally.

    >
    > Theoretically HTML 4 specifications use RFC language here, but in
    > practice their wording is not that formal.


    The second paragraph of section 4 makes it 100% formal.

    > Anyway, by the RFC language,
    > the statement that browsers SHOULD "render quotation marks in a
    > language-sensitive manner" means that "there may exist valid reasons in
    > particular circumstances to ignore [that statement] particular item,
    > but the full implications must be understood and carefully weighed
    > before choosing a different course". So if an implementator has
    > understood the full implications etc. and decided not to make a user
    > agent behave that way, what makes us think that an author knows
    > better?


    That's completely non-sequitur. The author is the *most*
    qualified to make that decision, as it's *his* friggin' document,
    and *his* choice of language. Even if it's not "correct", an
    author has the right to exert such control over his own document,
    and indeed the duty to do so if he wishes to achieve these results.

    > > You *are* supposed
    > > to use CSS if you want to force a conforming user-agent to Do The
    > > Right Thing(TM).

    >
    > No, of course not. First, HTML specifications do not postulate any use
    > of CSS. They are meant to be used without a style sheet, with CSS style
    > sheets, or with other style sheet.


    The <style> element allows you to use any arbitrary style sheet
    language, but CSS is specifically required for support of, e.g.,
    style attributes.

    > Second, author style sheets (by
    > design and by implementation) certainly cannot force anything.


    If the user agent claims to be conforming to HTML 4 and CSS Level
    2, and the style sheet is active (by default or by user choice)
    the rules specified must be obeyed above any defaults specified
    by the "internal stylesheet".

    > Third, a
    > duplicate implementation of quotation mark rendering would be a shot in
    > the dark. A browser programmer can be in a position to _know_ that e.g.
    > curly quotes are not available in a rendering situation and use Ascii
    > quotation marks instead, and if an author style sheet tries to force
    > curly quotes, it could end up with having no quotes rendered.


    If the programmer is in a position to know that they are not
    available, he/she is in a position to substitute appropriate
    characters, as is the case in some existing implementations.

    > > Agreed about (en); although even if it had been correct, I didn't
    > > post using an encoding that would have allowed more appropriate
    > > ones.

    >
    > Surely you could write a style sheet in Ascii only and yet use any
    > Unicode character in generated content.


    I'm talking about the pasted snippet from my post, not a literal stylesheet.

    > > As to (no); you're right, that's stupid. That's how they were in
    > > the CSS2 standard, though (should've been ‹ and › I
    > > believe)

    >
    > No, notations like ‹ have no meaning in CSS.


    I realize that. I was just using the SGML convention for
    specifying the characters I would have wanted (since I wasn't
    posting in Unicode).

    > >> Use plain Ascii quotation marks

    > >
    > > Why? Every browser I've seen supports &ldquo;, &rdquo;,
    > > etc.

    >
    > Then you haven't seen enough. Ascii quotation marks are _safe_, as I
    > wrote.


    &ldquo; and &rdquo; are _safe_ too. And more typographically
    correct--as you yourself have pointed out. They work on a huge
    variety of user-agents, including non-graphical ones, etc. Where
    they are not available, they are often substituted with your
    ASCII favorites.

    > If you consider using real quotation marks, then you should at
    > least refrain from using those quasi-mnemonic entity references and use
    > character references instead.


    They are required to be supported by HTML 4.0-conformant user
    agents, and are much more readale when editing source. However, I
    typically post-process my HTML files to replace those entity
    references not required by HTML 3.2 with the equivalent character
    references.

    -Micah
     
    Micah Cowan, Oct 13, 2003
    #18
  19. Tristan Miller

    Chris Hoess Guest

    In article <>, Micah Cowan wrote:
    >
    > The <style> element allows you to use any arbitrary style sheet
    > language, but CSS is specifically required for support of, e.g.,
    > style attributes.


    Wrong. Read closely Section 14.2.2.

    --
    Chris Hoess
     
    Chris Hoess, Oct 13, 2003
    #19
  20. Micah Cowan <> wrote:

    >> Theoretically HTML 4 specifications use RFC language here, but in
    >> practice their wording is not that formal.

    >
    > The second paragraph of section 4 makes it 100% formal.


    Thanks for a good laugh. Seriously, you haven't actually studied the
    HTML specification much if you think that it really sticks to RFC
    language.

    I think I will refrain from commenting further - there's too much
    confusion in your ideas of forcing things in CSS, etc. Hang around and
    you'll gradually see that.

    --
    Yucca, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/
    Pages about Web authoring: http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/www.html
     
    Jukka K. Korpela, Oct 13, 2003
    #20
    1. Advertising

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

It takes just 2 minutes to sign up (and it's free!). Just click the sign up button to choose a username and then you can ask your own questions on the forum.
Similar Threads
  1. Radith

    Using quotation marks

    Radith, Jan 7, 2005, in forum: Java
    Replies:
    1
    Views:
    450
  2. Replies:
    0
    Views:
    609
  3. M. Clift

    String and quotation marks

    M. Clift, Oct 22, 2004, in forum: Python
    Replies:
    2
    Views:
    395
    M. Clift
    Oct 22, 2004
  4. Peng Yu

    Question about concatenating quotation marks

    Peng Yu, Oct 1, 2004, in forum: C Programming
    Replies:
    3
    Views:
    355
    Mark McIntyre
    Oct 2, 2004
  5. Junior
    Replies:
    4
    Views:
    327
    Dennis Lee Bieber
    Oct 27, 2007
Loading...

Share This Page