Re: Initial Draft --Cascaded Speech Style Sheets

Scott E. Preece (
Wed, 14 Feb 1996 12:44:00 -0600

From: (Raman T. V.)
| Setting pitch-range etc achieves the same effect aurally as switching from
| bold to italic visually.
| Hence, it *belongs* in the stylesheet so that a designer can specify a
| pitch-range of 0 to render <pre>...</pre> in a monotone voice (this is one of
| the examples I have working)
| Resorting to pushing all of these into the "voice-family" would result in a
| huge number of voices and total disorganization. Note my comments in the spec
| about speech output devices and auditory displays still being in a nasant
| state as compared to the world of visual displays.

I'm inclined to agree that it makes sense for these to be individually manipulatable, though a shorthand notation for setting a bunch of them at once would probably be convenient. On the other hand, it would be important to get some feedback from somebody who has actually implemented something like this on whether it's practical to do everything independently and on whether, in practice, people make use of the full range of controls. [If you have done, that's fine - it isn't clear from the notes whether this is an analytical proposal or an experience-based proposal.]

| ...
|  > <out-there-radical-notion>
|  > Indeed --- is it possible to use the *same* style sheet for voice and treat it
|  > as a font mapping problem?  Line spacing and hard line breaks are pauses
|  > (map points to suitable time units), flush left is send-to-left-channel, left
|  > margin is...
| Such a mapping as you describe above would be one possible stylesheet that
| allows the listener to get an accurate view of the visual rendering.
| Note however, that such a view may be desirable only in the case where you're
| trying to build a mental picture of the visual rendering.
| As far as producing pleasant speech is concerned, the linebreaks and page
| breaks are irrelevant --linebraks are a consequence of flowing the text into a
| specific container --in this case the screen-- and have little to do with
| pauses on the speech side. In fact, doing what you suggest above *all* the
| time would result in choppy speech with poor intonational and prosodic
| structure.

Sometimes, of course, line and page breaks *do* matter - poetry and source code are examples of the one, logically divided material of the other. For general text, though, you're certainly right and it's probably fair to say that "meaningful" breaks should already be marked in the markup (though there's nothing exactly like a page, yet).

|  > </out-there-radical-notion>
|  >
| Radical --true-- but restrictive.
| Keeping the speech and visual style sheets has a number of advantages as
| pointed out in the introductory section of the specification.
| Moreover, a user desirous of producing an auditory rendering that is a true
| reflection of the visual layout could use a "speak-verbatim.css"
| that does such an explicit mapping from visual to speech properties.

I think overloading speech considerations onto the language of visual style would be a mistake, at least without a lot more evidence that it would be a happy marriage.


scott preece
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