[whatwg] sic element

Jukka K. Korpela jkorpela at cs.tut.fi
Sat Aug 13 07:32:24 PDT 2011

13.8.2011 16:52, Bjartur Thorlacius wrote:

> My take on it is that implementations should interpret typographic
> elements literally if descendants of <q> or <blockquote>, but as
> optionally offset spans otherwise (i.e. optionally spoken in an
> alternative mood, or rendered in an alternative font), using the
> intended font or style wherever practical.

That, too, would change the meaning of the markup. We should be very 
careful about changing semantics. If new semantic expressivity is 
needed, new elements or at least new attributes are needed, instead of 
saying that <b>, which has been used for almost twenty years, now 
suddenly means something completely different. And it does not help to 
say that it isn't really changed that much, when it's a change in the 
very nature of the markup.

Besides, the current text by no means requires that all quoted text be 
inserted in <q> or <blockquote>. On the contrary, it says that using 
quotation marks is just as good. Moreover, when I refer to something 
using intentionally some physical style, as in "the <b>B</b> button" 
when referring to a button with boldface "B", it would not be reasonable 
to require that I need to indicate the "<b>B</b>" as being a quotation 
(it is in a sense, but not in a sense that makes it require quotation 
marks or markup).

> The debate is about whether an expected speech rendering of e.g. <b>some
> text</b> would be "some text" or "[brief pause] bold [brief pause] some
> text [brief pause] end bold".

No, the debate is about preserving <b>, <i>, and <u> as defined in 
legacy HTML and as used on millions of pages.

I don't think we should even try to dictate an expected speech 
rendering, since the properties of speech presentation and the needs of 
people using it vary greatly. All we should say is that the elements 
indicate physical typographic styles, which may carry some special 
meaning but the meaning is not indicated in markup. It's comparable to 
reading a printed book aloud. The reader might have an idea of how 
italics should affect the reading, or he might decide to ignore it, or 
he might even mention that some words are in italics and discuss what 
that might mean. The listener may have his own ideas and wishes. The 
situation does not really call for a third party to jump in and give 

Yucca, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/

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