[sword-devel] multiple languages in modules

Daniel Owens dcowens76 at gmail.com
Thu Oct 11 18:47:17 MST 2012

Working on Abbott-Smith some things came together in my mind about 
modules that mix languages. I have identified two problems.

First, modules that mix languages do not look good when fonts are chosen 
per module rather than per language (regardless of the language of the 
module). I go back and forth on which font to use as the default font in 
SWORD frontends. If I am primarily using Greek lexicons, I use a Greek 
font. If Hebrew lexicons then Hebrew. Cardo just does not satisfy, and 
the SBL Biblit font is not out yet. But the <foreign> element *should* 
mean that the front-end picks the right font for the right text, right? 
I was (quietly) ecstatic to discover that BPBible also handles <foreign> 
elements properly, displaying the proper fonts for each language in a 
module (such as Abbott-Smith) that has five languages, using three 
different fonts. So cool. But most front-ends do not. Is the <foreign> 
element passed through the engine? If so, do I need to file bugs with 
front-ends to encourage support of <foreign>?

Second, when RtoL text is mixed with LtoR text you can get some strange 
display problems. Punctuation and numbers can work for both types of 
languages. Take an example from the entry ἀγανάκτησις in Abbott-Smith. 
It uses the aleph character, with a number 1 following. Just typing this 
as plain text gives you: א1. This is incorrect even though the numeral 
was typed after the letter. I found a solution in HTML using <bdo>. The 
page at 
properly handles this issue. It actually transforms raw TEI using XSL 
with a CSS stylesheet to handle certain display issues. These 
stylesheets can be found at 

Could <bdo> be added to the filters to help with this problem?


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