gender voice variants

Peter Constable petercon at
Wed Dec 19 23:00:33 CET 2012

From: ietf-languages-bounces at [mailto:ietf-languages-bounces at] On Behalf Of Doug Ewell

> 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

On the one hand, the notion of "grammatical gender" is realized in a variety of ways across the world's languages, not being limited to only male vs. female (vs. neuter) distinctions. However, I don't see a common use case for capturing that notion of gender in a language tag. For instance, I don't think it would make sense to use variant subtags to capture that a Zande dictionary entry "nya" ('beast') is of the _animate_ class while "bambu" ('house') is of the _inanimate_ class.

On the other hand, there is the issue of characterizing whether a text as a whole reflects usage by a person of a particular gender. That is the distinction that might be of interest for capturing within a language tag via a variant subtag. For this, I think the only options are male vs. female vs. neutral. 

(Note that I'd use those terms, not masculine / feminine / neuter: these would refer to grammatical gender, whereas male / female / neutral better reflect the class of people reflected by the content or for whom the content is intended.)


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