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7.3. Style Sheets Language Features

The first version of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) did not include any mechanisms for dealing with anything but standard western, left-to-right languages.

CSS Level 2 introduces a few controls that specifically address multilingualism. For more information on these properties, see the CSS2 recommendation (http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-CSS2/).

Directionality

The direction and unicode-bidi properties in CSS2 allow authors to specify text direction, similar to the <dir> and <bdo> tags in HTML.

Automatic list numbering

Using the list-style-type property, it is possible to specify a variety of automatic numbering schemes, including some foreign languages such as Hebrew and Japanese.

Quotation marks

The quotes property is used to specify quotation marks appropriate to the current language of the text.

Future levels of CSS will address advanced foreign language attributes such as vertical text and ruby text. Ruby text is a run of text that appears alongside another run of text (the base). It serves as an annotation or pronunciation guide, as in the case of phonetic Japanese characters that run above the pictorial kanji symbols to aid readers who do not understand the symbols. The current efforts to extend CSS for internationalization are published in the working draft International Layout (http://www.w3.org/TR/i18n-format/). It includes interesting proposals for page layout grids for accommodating vertical text, representing ruby text, and applying existing CSS2 properties to alternative text layouts.



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