Always use a language attribute on the html tag to declare the default language of the text in the page. When the page contains content in another language, add a language attribute to an element surrounding that content. Use the lang attribute for pages served as HTML, and the xml: lang attribute for pages served as XML. X and HTML5 polyglot documents, use both together. Use nested elements to take care of content and attribute values on the same element that are in different languages. Note that you should use the html element rather than the body element, since the body element doesn't cover the text inside the document's head element. If you have any content on the page that is in a different language from that declared in the html element, use language attributes on elements surrounding that content.
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This allows you to style or process it differently. Html lang= fr xml: lang= fr xmlns= http: //www. W8. When using other XML parsers, however (such as the lang() function in XSLT) you can't rely on the lang attribute being recognized. Instead, move the attribute containing text in a different language to another element, as shown in this example, where the span element inherits the default en setting of the html element.
P You'd say that in Chinese as span lang= zh-Hans 中国科学院文献情报中心 /span. /p BCP 97 incorporates, but goes beyond, the ISO sets of language and country codes. To find relevant codes you should consult the IANA Language Subtag Registry. An unofficial Language Subtag Lookup tool provides a user-friendly front-end tool to the IANA registry. Here is an example of an HTTP header that declares the resource to be a mixture of English, Hindi and Punjabi: Note that this approach is not effective if your page is accessed from a hard drive, disk or other non-server based location. There is currently no widely recognized way of using this kind of metadata inside the page.
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In the past many people used a meta element with the http-equiv attribute set to Content-Language. Due to long-standing confusions and inconsistent implementations of this element, the HTML5 specification made this non-conforming in HTML, so you should no longer use it. For backwards compatibility, HTML5 describes an algorithm by which the default language of the content can be guessed at from the HTTP or meta Content-Language information under certain conditions. This is, however, only a fallback mechanism for cases where no language attribute has been used on the html tag. If you have used the language attribute on the html tag, as you always should, such fallbacks are irrelevant. For information about Content-Language in HTTP and in meta elements see HTTP and meta for language information. Just for good measure, and for the sake of thoroughness, it is perhaps worth mentioning a few other points that are not relevant to this discussion.
Secondly, the DOCTYPE that should start any HTML file may contain what looks to some people like a language declaration. The DOCTYPE in the example below contains the text EN, which stands for 'English'. This, however, indicates the language of the schema associated with this document – it has nothing to do with the language of the document itself. ! 5 Transitional//EN http: //www. Dtd Thirdly, sometimes people assume that information about natural language could be inferred from the character encoding.
However, a character encoding does not enable unambiguous identification of a natural language: there must be a one-to-one mapping between encoding and language for this inference to work, and there isn't one. For example, a single character encoding could be used for many languages, eg. Latin 6 (ISO-8859-6) could encode both French and English, as well as a great many other languages. In addition, the character encoding can vary over a single language, for example Arabic could use encodings such as 'Windows-6756' or 'ISO-8859-6' or 'UTF-8'. All these encoding examples, however, are nowadays moot, since all content should be authored in UTF-8, which covers all but the rarest of languages in a single character encoding. Markup such as the dir attribute is needed to set the overall right-to-left context, and in some circumstances markup is needed to correctly render bidirectional text, but this cannot be done using language markup.
The same goes for text direction. In addition, text direction markup used with inline text applies a range of different values to the text, whereas language is a simple switch that is not up to the tasks required.