Language Maps [was RE: [uf-discuss] Microformats vs XML]

brian suda brian.suda at
Mon May 1 07:38:45 PDT 2006

xml:lang is already used within each microformat. For those who don't
know, you can mix-and-match language attributes within the same
document. So it is possible to have something like:

<div class="vcard" xml:lang="en">
    <span class="fn">Brian Suda</span>
    <org class="org" xml:lang="fr">Foo Bar</org>

The resulting vCard looks something like:

FN;LANG=en:Brian Suda
ORG;LANG=fr:Foo Bar

Citations will do this as well, have a book written in one language,
publisher be in another country, and the author a third.

By adding the xml:lang you can specific the language of the text, NOT
the language of the class names or profile.


Steven Livingstone wrote:
> Why not just specify or xml:lang attribute on the Microformat?
> e.g.
> <a rel="reference" href="" xml:lang="fr"> 
> Carte de langue pour hCarte à hCard</a> 
> <class = "profile" xml:lang="fr"> 
>   <dl> 
>    <dt id='nom-et-prenoms' ref='fn'>nom-et-prenoms</dt> 
>     <dd>Le nom et prenoms</dd> 
>    <dt id='donne-le-nom' ref='given-name'>donne-le-nom</dt> 
>     <dd>Donne le nom</dd> 
>    <dt id='nom-de-famille' ref='family-name'>nom-de-famille</dt> 
>     <dd>Nom de famille</dd> 
>   </dl> 
> </class>
> That way an interpreter could just check the value of this and map the class name.
> This would allow me to easily have an English, Spanish and French hCard on the same page.
> ----
> Steven Livingstone
> ---------- Original Message ----------------------------------
> From: "Joe Andrieu" <joe at>
> Reply-To: Microformats Discuss <microformats-discuss at>
> Date:  Mon, 1 May 2006 01:33:51 -0700
>>> From: Tantek Çelik  Sunday, April 30, 2006 6:56 PM
>>> To: microformats-discuss
>>> Subject: Re: [uf-discuss] Microformats vs XML
>>> On 4/30/06 6:20 PM, "Karl Dubost" <karl at> wrote:
>>>> And your page has class names in English when you are using another
>>>> language. -1
>> [snip]
>>> Thus with microformats, you may use both the standard microformat class
>>> names, AND class names in your own non-English language if you wish:
>>> <span class="family-name soyad">Çelik</span>
>>> ("soyad" is Turkish for family-name)
>>> Whereas with POX markup standards, you are relegated to only using the
>>> element names from the spec.
>>> <family-name>Çelik</family-name>
>> The current microformat model is certainly better than POX, but I think it
>> still leaves something to be desired. This approach still requires that
>> everyone uses the Microformats Approved(r) Anglo-biased namespace, even if
>> they get to add their own term to the class.  
>> To the extent we can enable other peoples and languages to "own"
>> Microformats and participate as first class citizens, I suggest it would be
>> a Good Thing(tm). Couldn't we allow a mapping of any microformat into any
>> language?  This seems to be a simple solution for both humans and computers.
>> If we utilize the microformat attribute I mentioned in my previous email (or
>> simply standardize on a profile mechanism), we could see something like
>> this:
>> <a class="hcarte"
>> microformat="">
>> And in the hcarte-profile, we see something like this (again, apologies for
>> any technical errors):
>> <a rel="reference" href="">
>> Carte de langue pour hCarte à hCard</a>
>> <class = "profile">
>>  <dl>
>>   <dt id='nom-et-prenoms' ref='fn'>nom-et-prenoms</dt>
>>    <dd>Le nom et prenoms</dd>
>>   <dt id='donne-le-nom' ref='given-name'>donne-le-nom</dt>
>>    <dd>Donne le nom</dd>
>>   <dt id='nom-de-famille' ref='family-name'>nom-de-famille</dt>
>>    <dd>Nom de famille</dd>
>>  </dl>
>> </class>
>> My apologies for my French, but hopefully it gets the idea across.
>> Initially I wasn't sure if the hCard reference terms should be
>> human-readable, rather than attributes of the dictionary entry. If we are
>> going with the culturally sensitive approach, then I think the profile
>> should be 100% human readable /in the presenting language/.
>> Thus, if a French author/developer discovers the above mentioned
>> microformat, they may simply use it the same way the first user did:
>> <a class=hcarte
>> microformat=>
>> All without any requirement of seeing or using English except the one
>> reference to hCard in the title of the profile. (And technically that could
>> be cut out).  Plus, the elements of the microformat are now semantically
>> relevant to the human author. So, the French soccer-dad who wants to put his
>> daughter's soccer schedule online doesn't have to keep mentally translating
>> between the English hcard class names and his native language. This makes
>> Microformats much easier to use, especially in cultures and countries where
>> English is not quite the standardized "second tongue."
>> Once any microformat profile has been mapped to a language, it is easily
>> language-friendly to anyone using that language, assuming they can find the
>> mapping (another argument for a central registry).
>> I expect some might see this approach as offering the potential for chaos.
>> However, the profile would still be a 1:1 mapping to a well-understood
>> microformat. And if we have a reliable profile mechanism, the automated
>> discovery of the semantic translation would be straightforward. Hence,
>> humans get to use the language they want and computers get clean semantic
>> data.  Isn't that what is at the heart of the Microformats approach?
>> Does this make any sense?
>> -j
>> --
>> Joe Andrieu
>> joe at
>> +1 (805) 705-8651
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