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Old 11-02-2010, 05:31 AM   #1
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Emphasis or Italic for Language

I've got lots of books that have characters speaking words from another language.

Frequently these words are displayed in italised text (which I believe is correct).

What I'm wondering is: should they be marked in italic or emphasis tags in the markup?
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Old 11-02-2010, 09:35 AM   #2
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Ideally, you'd use none, but something like this:

Code:
<p>He said <span xml:lang="fr">au revoir</span>.</p>
with:

Code:
span:lang(fr) { font-style: italic; }
which would help a text-to-speech system choose the right pronunciation, or a reading system choose the right dictionary...
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Old 11-02-2010, 10:33 AM   #3
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That's fine for an actual language, but what happens if it is a fictional language used in the book. I don't see this technique working for it.

Example: Tolkien's Middle-Earth books ("Lord of the Rings", "The Hobbit", "The Silmarillion", etc) uses several fictional languages.

What would be the best way of displaying them?

If I use no tags, then how do I convey to the reader that the language has changed?
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Old 11-02-2010, 10:46 AM   #4
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Same method; you just use the name of the fictional language. Lang="quenya" or lang="klingon" or whatever. Or xml:lang="other", and set "other" to show as italic. Read-aloud software won't be able to give it any special treatment, but it'll know it's a language, and it'll show up as italic on the screen.
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