Language attributes- what are they?

John Cowan jcowan at
Sat Jan 1 10:18:08 CET 2005

Peter Constable scripsit:

> That certainly indicates that a sort ID, in principle, need not have any
> intrinsic relationship to the language or spelling conventions of the
> content, although the writing systems must have some similarity in their
> character inventories.

Not absolutely necessary.  There might, for example, exist a conventional
English-language rule for sorting Cyrillic text (say, sort it according
to Russian alphabetical order with various extensions to handle non-Russian
letters).  But I agree that similar writing systems are a clearer and better

> But the other part of "you need to sort them according to the reader's
> expectation" is that it involves control over a display process and thus
> implies an API rather than simply declaring attributes of static
> content, which in my mind is a significant distinction in this matter.

Yes: in short, we agree: sort order is not suitable for language-tagging
except in the exceptional case where you want to mark that a static document is
*already* sorted according to some order.

Business before pleasure, if not too bloomering long before.
        --Nicholas van Rijn
                John Cowan <jcowan at>

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