gender voice variants

Mark Davis ☕ mark at
Thu Dec 20 18:55:34 CET 2012

The world is rarely "clean" in that sense. The distinction between en-CA,
en-US, and en-GB is not clean (look at the usage of the Oxford comma, which
cuts across this; let alone the Shatner comma ;-). Nor are the current
variants "clean" in the sense of always being algorithmically determinable.

However, certain distinctions even if not perfect, are often extremely

Karen just mentioned "I can't make a use case for your creating formal and
informal versions of an OS". In response, I gave an example of a very real
use case. And while it may perfectly represent the nuances of expression
possible with human language, it does solve a significant issue in IT.

However, I'm *not* pushing for registration of the formal/informal
distinction with BCP47 variants. "Usefulness in IT" unfortunately seems to
have little weight as a criterion for registration of variants, so if we
decide we need to have it, we'd take the route of proposing a -u or -t
subtag instead.

Mark <>
*— Il meglio è l’inimico del bene —*

On Thu, Dec 20, 2012 at 2:22 AM, Michael Everson <everson at>wrote:

> On 20 Dec 2012, at 02:01, "Broome, Karen" <Karen.Broome at>
> wrote:
> >> The problem comes in when you have shared online components. You really
> don't want to mix du and Sie on the same page, addressing the same user.
> >
> > This. So you want this to be in the language tag. Keeps it clean.
> Levels of politeness in pronominal and verbal structures is not binarily
> "clean" in the world's languages. "Formal" and "informal" is not adequate,
> if you want to argue for opening a floodgate.
> Michael Everson *
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> Ietf-languages at
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