RE: Directionality Standard

From: Richard Ishida (
Date: Tue Dec 18 2007 - 06:06:50 CST

  • Next message: 'Stephane Bortzmeyer': "Re: Directionality Standard"

    I posted the following comment at

    There are some problems with this approach, as I see it.

    [1] What will you do about Azerbaijani, etc.? Azerbaijani language is
    written in both RTL (Arabic) and LTR (Cyrillic) scripts, depending on where
    you live. Basing the choice on language (az in each case) doesn't scale for
    that type of situation.

    [2] How do you cater for feeds where entries are in one language or another,
    or a mixture of both? This is quite common. Rather than declaring the
    directionality at the feed level, you need to declare it at the item level
    and/or within an item with mixed direction text.

    [3] The language subtag should not be required to be case-sensitive, since
    this is not required in the original formats (see BCP 47).

    I think you are limited here by the lack of proper bidi handling in the RSS
    and Atom formats, so looking at language is a workaround that addresses many
    cases reasonably well. I believe you should express it this way in your
    article above - not imply that this is a perfectly fine solution.

    I hope that helps.

    But it looks like someone needs to talk with the RSS and Atom format people
    and explain the issue. (and recommend that they read


    Richard Ishida
    Internationalization Lead
    W3C (World Wide Web Consortium)


    > -----Original Message-----
    > From:
    > [] On Behalf Of 'Stephane Bortzmeyer'
    > Sent: 18 December 2007 10:27
    > To: Behnam
    > Cc:
    > Subject: Re: Directionality Standard
    > On Tue, Dec 18, 2007 at 04:42:11AM -0500, Behnam
    > <> wrote a message of 67 lines which said:
    > > But RSS readers were displaying the content in ltr format
    > If the RSS feed (you did not provide the URL, by the way)
    > uses the arabic script, then, indeed, these readers are wrong
    > since arabic characters in Unicode have the bidi class
    > "Arabic_Letter" and should be rendered RTL, without needing
    > HTML or Atom attributes (I do not think RSS has such an attribute.)
    > >
    > > t-to-left-order.aspx
    > IMHO, this page is wrong because it uses languages instead of
    > scripts. There are also technical mistakes for instance they
    > say "The language value must be in lowercase" while language
    > tags are case-insensitive.
    > > But I am puzzled why a directionality issue should be resolved by a
    > > language tag in the first place,
    > That's probably because *most* languages are written in only
    > one script (azeri, for instance, is an exception) and
    > therefore have only one directionality.
    > But, you're right and they're wrong, directionality is a
    > property of the script, not of the language.

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