gender voice variants

John Cowan cowan at
Sun Dec 23 18:25:52 CET 2012

Peter Constable scripsit:

> In this scenario, the voice indication would not, I think, be part
> of the language tag on the text since it is not an attribute of the
> text. Rather it’s an independent request for certain processing.

However (and I have been trying to make this point, but it seems to get
lost in the shuffle), these tags are *not just* processing tags but can
also describe the results of processing.  The tag "it", as a processing
instruction, may mean "Translate the text to Italian".  But it also means
"This text is in Italian".  (Other processing outcomes are conceivable,
like "Complain if the text is not grammatical Italian".)

In the same way, spoken-language resources are as taggable as as written
ones.  So "voxmale" can be a processing instruction "Render this text
in a male voice", but it can also mean "This resource is spoken by a
male voice."  Thus, if I record myself speaking in the ordinary way,
I would justly tag that recording "en-us-voxmale".

> Conceptually, one might argue that the voice is not a linguistic
> characteristic since a woman’s voice could be used to narrate text
> that uses male-speaker linguistic constructs,

That is just why (following Michael) I have proposed separate "voxmale"
and "spkrmale" tags.  What you describe would be "-voxfeml-spkrmale".

> but I don't know a likely a scenario that would be.

An obvious use case is the narration of a book.  A woman may read a book
out loud whose narrator is a man, or which contains dialogue spoken by
a man.

How they ever reached any  conclusion at all    <cowan at>
is starkly unknowable to the human mind.
        --"Backstage Lensman", Randall Garrett

More information about the Ietf-languages mailing list