Re: [VCARDDAV] Review of draft-fukuda-vcarddav-phonetic-transcription-00.txt

Gren Elliot <> Thu, 12 September 2013 10:18 UTC

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Date: Thu, 12 Sep 2013 11:18:22 +0100
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From: Gren Elliot <>
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Subject: Re: [VCARDDAV] Review of draft-fukuda-vcarddav-phonetic-transcription-00.txt
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The draft talks about the Japanese specific Katakana and Hiragana.
It would be nice if these phonetic transcriptions were more generally useful.
I believe the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) (see seems to me to be the most sensible
There are some clear issues with this though.  I can't read it and I
suspect most people can't.  Producing values in IPA would be limited
to the people who do understand it.
One other possibility would be for address book software that would
listen to someone saying a name and produce the appropriate VCARD
properties (and also play it back if wanted).

For Japanese people, using Katakana and/or Hiragana is more
convenient, because they can write and understand it.  However, many
non-Japanese people would not understand it and it would be more
useful for Japanese name phonetic information to be provided in
another form, perhaps IPA or in a phonetic script that they are
familiar with.

To address one concern DataPacRat had regarding the variability of
names, I believe it would be useful to have a new property for the
whole name, say - PHONETIC-FULL-NAME.

A simple example (I'm sure others can do better):
For the Japanese food stuff "Sushi", the VCARD could contain the 2
properties, one useful to English students studying Japanese who
haven't mastered Hiragana or Katakana yet and use the simple phonetic
system called Furigana and one which is hopefully universally useful
and could be used by generic international software to produce audio
for one proper way (according to
to say the word.


We would need new IANA tokens for acceptable VALUE settings.  I suggest:
IPA - The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA).  Unicode supports IPA
symbols, so this should be usable.
IPA-X-SAMPA - The Extended Speech Assessment Methods Phonetic Alphabet
(X-SAMPA).  Using IPA-X-SAMPA rather than X-SAMPA because the latter
begins with "X-" and thus can't be used as a registered token.
FURIGANA - Japanese phonetic alphabet
HIRAGANA - Japanese phonetic alphabet

I don't propose that we actually register FURIGANA as an accepted IANA
token - I'm using it here because it is ASCII.

Gren Elliot