gender voice variants

Peter Constable petercon at
Tue Dec 18 18:51:10 CET 2012

I'm not at all suggesting a need to capture the wide variety of language-usage scenarios suggested. Rather, I'm talking about a very small and specific set of cases that are going to be very common as natural user interfaces continue to evolve: e.g., "I want the audio prompts in the UI to be in Czech and in a male voice".

One could treat the gender/child details as an orthogonal metadata attribute to language. Since the attribute pertain specifically to the nature of speech, however, it seems like it could make sense to merge this into a language tag element as a variant.


-----Original Message-----
From: ietf-languages-bounces at [mailto:ietf-languages-bounces at] On Behalf Of Doug Ewell
Sent: Tuesday, December 18, 2012 8:44 AM
To: ietf-languages at
Subject: Re: gender voice variants

Peter Constable <petercon at microsoft dot com> wrote:

> I don't recall that anyone has ever proposed variant subtags for male 
> voice vs. female voice for use on speech assets. (I suppose child 
> voice might be another relevant variant.) Does it seem appropriate to 
> handle these voice distinctions via variant subtags on a language tag?

This sounds distressingly like the suggestions made around 2005, during the development of RFC 4646, that it needed to encompass formal and informal, parent-child and child-parent, happy and sad, shouted and whispered, and so forth.

Those comments were made in one of many attempts to kill the document by weighing it down with impossibly far-reaching scope, although it goes without saying that Peter has no such intent. All the same, we might want to consider in advance how far down this path we want to go.

Doug Ewell | Thornton, Colorado, USA | @DougEwell ­
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