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Re: Markup of scientific (biological) names, linking to multilingual pages, etc.

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@sidar.org>
Date: Thu, 30 Jan 2003 15:57:42 +1100
Cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
To: "Jukka K. Korpela" <jkorpela@cs.tut.fi>
Message-Id: <5D87EBF4-340F-11D7-924A-000A95678F24@sidar.org>

The Speech Synthesis Markup Language effectively requires support for 
IPA: http://www.w3.org/TR/speech-synthesis/#S2.1.5 and if you have a 
full Unicode system there should be no problem (fonts and tools are now 
reasonably widespread, although getting everything to work harmoniously 
sometimes produces a few hiccoughs).

--end of real message

The problem of diacritics is particularly pronounced in vietnamese 
where there are many possible combinations of them, and they change the 
meaning of words very significantly Because consonants are not very 
well distinguished in spoken vietnamese (the difference between 
Northern and Southern pronunciation of the same letter is clearer than 
the difference between different consonants in the same accent.

Research at MIT showed that speech recognition of Vietnamese-born 
Australians speaking english depended on vowel recognition. Personal 
experience suggests that Vietnamese speech output would also need to 
get this right in order to make sense. As far as I am aware, the 
"International" Phonetic Alphabet is not actually sufficient for 
describing Vietnamese pronunciation. I don't know of a vietnamese 
speech synthesiser or recogniser (I haven't looked, and none has 
actually landed on my doorstep), but I would be interested to find out 
how they do deal with these issues.



On Thursday, Jan 30, 2003, at 11:01 Australia/Melbourne, Jukka K. 
Korpela wrote:

> On Wed, 29 Jan 2003, Nick Kew wrote:
>> Does anyone support the International Phonetic Alphabet on the Web?
> Not very well. IPA can be written using Unicode characters, and most of
> the modern browsers support Unicode in some sense. However, the actual
> support depends on the character repertoire, and I'm afraid fonts with
> full IPA support are very rare. Besides, full utilization of IPA means
> that one can construct characters that do not appear as such in Unicode
> but are formed by combining a base character and one or more diacritic
> marks. This is rather challenging, and although some browsers make some
> attempts at it, this works for simple cases only, and not very well
> typographically.
Charles McCathieNevile           charles@sidar.org
Fundación SIDAR                       http://www.sidar.org
Received on Wednesday, 29 January 2003 23:58:04 UTC

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