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Re: Italics for book titles and foreign words

  • Subject: Re: Italics for book titles and foreign words
  • From: Davémon <"davémon"@nospam.com>
  • Date: Mon, 8 May 2006 15:08:09 +0100
  • Newsgroups: uk.net.web.authoring
  • Organization: Nightsoil
  • References: <1hezpdo.13f5fnz1w3tpqcN%real-not-anti-spam-address@apple-juice.co.uk> <2102357.WZ538czPdY@schestowitz.com> <1hf0vxr.1x9qsl980ddw1N%real-not-anti-spam-address@apple-juice.co.uk>
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  • Xref: news.mcc.ac.uk uk.net.web.authoring:74939
D.M. Procida arranged shapes to form:

> Roy Schestowitz <newsgroups@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>>> Print has managed very well by using italics for book titles and foreign
>>> words, and it is a convention which has endured. Italics doesn't always
>>> look too nice on-screen though. What do people prefer to use for this
>>> purpose?
>> In my opinion, this is a matter of what fonts are being used, as well as the
>> default font size. This needs careful testing under many Web browsers and
>> platforms however. I sometimes prefer to inherit bits of CSS from sites that
>> have done all that cross-browser/platform work /already/, e.g.:
> <deletia>
> That's not really the question I was asking, but I think I asked it
> quite badly. 
> When we see something in italics in print, we can recognise it
> (depending upon the context) as the title of a book or journal, or as a
> foreign word (or emphasis of course, but we have a <em> already.) 
> That is, italics have a semantic function in print; they tells us to
> expect words with a particular kind of meaning or purpose. (Actually,
> it's switching between regular and italic text which is the clue,
> because if a run of text is already in italics, then using regular text
> indicates emphasis/a title/foreign word.)
> <i> tends to produce unattractive text on-screen.
> <cite> seems to be acceptable for titles, but there is nothing
> equivalent for foreign words. 

Use the lang attribute inside a logical tag and
<span lang="fr">voila</span>!

> And, there is still the question about the
> on-screen typography for (say) <cite>, if italics don't please.

What are you marking up? if it's academic, then use the standard
conventions - and expect people to print it out to read it! Also, what
typeface are you using? Not all types have proper italics, so shouldn't be

> Perhaps I will just use <cite> for titles and <span class="furrin"> for
> foreign words.

Makes sense, but use a lang attribute as well, to tell the machines!



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