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

Steven Livingstone connect at
Mon May 1 07:53:10 PDT 2006

Thanks Brian - that's useful info for me leanring this stuff. It sounds like xml:lang in its normal context which is fine.

I guess my point would maybe be that if you are going to bother using xml:lang="fr" to write some information in French, then i'd have thought you could easily write the class names and profiles in French too.

So, on a web page, if i write my Country in English and Spanish on my own web site, i'd write :

Country : Scotland
Pais : Escocia

[ rather than Country : Escocia ].

Perhaps there are some use cases that could be pointed at that would make having yet a further technique for specifing class name/profile languages really worth the hassle ( i know there will be cases, i'm talking relative effort ).

If another technique were required, then each class name under a given context could be normalized to a single definition (under the namespace for that particular microformat to allow the same class names to be used many times). So if someone writes a classname in French, it gets normalized to the English (or Esperanto, or Klingon - select you preferred PC language) equivalent which is the normalized classname used if some equivalence test was required. This would solve the problem for both humans and machines.


Steven Livingstone

---------- Original Message ----------------------------------
From: brian suda <brian.suda at>
Reply-To: Microformats Discuss <microformats-discuss at>
Date:  Mon, 01 May 2006 09:38:45 -0500

>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
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> microformats-discuss mailing list
>>> microformats-discuss at
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