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Subject: RE: [dita] Behavior of <q> element

I would like to add a few thoughts to this interesting discussion.

A related problem is the position of a full stop (period) in relation to the
inverted commas. In US English, the full stop in a quotation embedded within
a sentence is placed inside the inverted commas; in other forms of English
the punctuation is outside the inverted commas. Hard-coding the inverted
commas may create a localisation issue. Also, to be semantically correct,
should the coding be:
	He said <q>three of them</q>.
with the processing placing the period inside the quote marks if required? I
believe it should, and this supports the argument that quotation marks
should not be hard-coded by the author.

Another issue is whether single quotes or double quotes should be used for
quotations. If the text is hard-coded with a particular style of mark, it
can't be easily switched in the processing. 

In "The Elements of International Style", Edmond Weiss addressed the issue
of punctuation in quotations. His conclusion was: "The better path, however,
is to use other conventions for highlighting: alternate typefaces or fonts,
boldface, italics, shading, or color. Such devices must be used consistently
and with restraint, but they have the power to eliminate most quotation
marks and, thereby, to eliminate a continuing distraction from international

In conclusion, for interoperability, punctuation marks in quotations should
be omitted by the user. For the reason of separation of content and form,
likewise. For reasons of internationalisation, likewise.

Tony Self

-----Original Message-----
From: Robert D Anderson [mailto:robander@us.ibm.com] 
Sent: Wednesday, 7 January 2009 2:44 AM
To: dita
Subject: [dita] Behavior of <q> element


Going through the review comments to the specification, I found that
somebody asked for examples of how <q> should be processed. Generally, we
try to stay away from processing behaviors, but this one may be an
exception. The current description gives no suggestions as to whether or
not quotes should be generated. I checked the HTML 4.01 specification to
see what they say; that specification says that q must be rendered with
quotations, and that users should not add their own quotes. It goes on to
say that the quotes should be rendered in a language-sensitive manner. See
the section on rendering quotations:

Should we make a similar statement? I do not want to add behaviors that
MUST be done without consulting the full TC, so - this is my consultation.

Thanks -

Robert D Anderson
IBM Authoring Tools Development
Chief Architect, DITA Open Toolkit

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