gender voice variants

Broome, Karen Karen.Broome at
Wed Dec 19 20:29:44 CET 2012

I should maybe note that almost all Czech words have three forms depending on gender (there is neutral too).

Karen Broome

-----Original Message-----
From: ietf-languages-bounces at [mailto:ietf-languages-bounces at] On Behalf Of Broome, Karen
Sent: Wednesday, December 19, 2012 11:22 AM
To: Doug Ewell; ietf-languages at
Subject: RE: gender voice variants

Maybe I'm missing your point, but are you saying that Czech and Portuguese aren't mainstream enough? In both languages, there are spoken and written variations between male and female speakers. This is not all that uncommon.

I have come across a need for this in my work in the U.S. when doing Portuguese localizations. I remember one app where we asked the user "Who are you?" The endings of the words are different in some languages for whether you are a male or female "developer" etc. The hack used was to present both forms of the word a la "Developer/Developerette". That was not ideal for those locales. A savvy marketer would likely create male and female drop-down choices in those languages assuming the gender of the user is known -- that's exactly when I'd suggest that the marketer use a gender tag, if added to the IANA registry.


Karen Broome

-----Original Message-----
From: ietf-languages-bounces at [mailto:ietf-languages-bounces at] On Behalf Of Doug Ewell
Sent: Wednesday, December 19, 2012 11:13 AM
To: ietf-languages at
Subject: Re: gender voice variants

In the simplest cases, such as English, the exact same text might be 
spoken by a male or female. A use case has been stated to identify 
different multimedia resources for this. (Karen is right: BCP 47 isn't 
just for Web pages and screen readers.) This simple concept is uniform 
across languages, and limited to non-written text, and if coded, would 
definitely call for generic variants.

There are more complicated cases where the text may change by simple 
inflections. Michael mentioned "obrigado" in Portuguese (in the context 
of saying "don't tag this") and Karen mentioned "hotový" in Czech. I 
don't know if this concept, if coded, is uniform enough across languages 
to permit generic variants; obviously the exact changes differ from one 
language to the next, but that is also true for "zh-Latn-pinyin" versus 

The Japanese or Yanyuwa "women's speech" cases are more complicated yet, 
and I think these cases, if coded, should be language-specific variants.

None of these variant subtags would likely be mainstream, but that is 
true for variant subtags in general.

Doug Ewell | Thornton, Colorado, USA | @DougEwell ­ 

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