The "not-language" identifier (was: RE: Mandarin Chinese, Simplified Script)

L.Gillam L.Gillam at
Thu Jun 16 17:50:21 CEST 2005


Not really clear on that: according to the rec, the empty value
is used to override an xml:lang on an enclosing element without
specifying a language - an example, I guess, would be something like:

<tag xml:lang="en">
	<tag xml:lang="fr">
		<tag xml:lang=""> (1)
		<tag xml:lang="xnl"> (2)

(1) appears to say that there is a language, but we're not telling.
(2) would suggest that there is no language to be had, and that all
bets on language are now off, which some might think that (1) would 
imply without reading through sections on XML - assumption being a 
parent to certain things.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: ietf-languages-bounces at
> [mailto:ietf-languages-bounces at]On Behalf Of John.Cowan
> Sent: 16 June 2005 15:37
> To: L.Gillam
> Cc: ietf-languages at
> Subject: Re: The "not-language" identifier (was: RE: Mandarin
> Chinese,Simplified Script)
> L.Gillam scripsit:
> > FOR: On the other hand, some applications may have enforced
> > this need: in the world of xml:lang, you need some kind of 
> override if an
> > xml:lang has been described on an element at a higher level; the
> > empty value doesn't really do it as I recall. Essentially, though, 
> > isn't it xml:lang that should be suppressed/negated rather than the 
> > self-negating value? There may be other such examples.
> The empty value of xml:lang restores the default state: no 
> declaration is made
> as to language or linguistic status.  The proposed value would declare
> the absence of linguistic information.
> -- 
> John Cowan  
> jcowan at
> Mr. Henry James writes fiction as if it were a painful duty.  
> --Oscar Wilde
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