gender voice variants

John Cowan cowan at
Sat Dec 22 01:14:42 CET 2012

Michael Everson scripsit:

> I'm pretty sure our variants are mostly orthographical and do not deal
> with word-choice-type content.

Mostly, but there are plenty of exceptions:  aluku, arevela, arevmda,
biscayan, biske, emodeng, itihasa, ...  In addition, boont and jauer
are specifically about spoken varieties without a standard written form.

> > Looking over the subtag registry, I find the distinctions represented
> > there are: like the speaker's or writer's point of origin, the
> > period of use, the writer's spelling conventions, and the use of
> > unusual terminology.
> All of those are subsumed under "identifiable orthography".

Most or all may be *orthographically identifiable* (that is, you can tell
whether something is en-boont or not by looking at a transcription),
but that does not make them purely orthographic variants.

> > (Indeed, when this discussion dies down, I think we should next look
> > at formality levels, if only on an oversimplified formal/informal
> > basis, with additional details (if needed for, say, Javanese) left
> > for language-specific subtags.)
> Because it's good to make work for ourselves? I recall you grousing
> at me for wanting to be completist at times. ;-)

I agree, but apparently the subtags are already being used, and I think
we should bless them on the same grounds as the ones now proposed
(the set of four, that is).

> This does not respond to my suggestion that such distinctions might
> be best left to other tagging levels, such as <speaker> or <audience>.

What can I say?  It seems to me to fit with the others.  There simply
is no precise definition of what should be represented using a variant
tag and what should not.  Your Majesty's subjects have petitioned for
these subtags, and I believe they should be given them.

> But they have children's voices, not adults' voices. I can choose
> the language of my software interface and I can choose the voice it
> speaks to me in. 

Fair enough.  If there's a demand for this too, then let it be granted,
but so far I think there is not.

John Cowan  <cowan at>
        Raffiniert ist der Herrgott, aber boshaft ist er nicht.
                --Albert Einstein

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