CSS speak-as Descriptor

The CSS speak-as descriptor is used with the @counter-style at-rule to specifies how the counter style should be read out when a speech synthesizer is used.

For example, the value of a marker in an ordered list could be read out as a number, as letters of the alphabet, or in some other way that you specify here.

The @counter-style rule accepts a name, followed by a number of descriptors, which define the counter style. The speak-as descriptor describes exactly how to synthesize the spoken form of a counter formatted with the given counter style.

Here's an example of using the speak-as descriptor.

If your browser supports the @counter-style at-rule, the above code could result in a list that looks something like this:

Example of an unordered list styled using dice for the counter marker representations.
An ordered list styled using dice for the counter marker representations.

This example uses dice to represent the list numbers. This could have unintended consequences when read out on a screen reader or other speech synthesizer (i.e. the screen reader might go "die face 1, die face 2" etc). By using the speak-as descriptor we can tell the speech synthesizer to read out the counter representations as numbers instead.

Possible Values

The speak-as descriptor accepts the following values.

These are defined as follows.

If the counter style's system is alphabetic, this value computes to alphabetic. If the system is cyclic, this value computes to bullet. Otherwise, this value computes to numeric.
The user agent speaks a UA-defined phrase or audio cue that represents a list item being read out.
The counter's value is spoken as a number in the document language.
The user agent will generate a counter value as normal and read it out as a word in the document language.
The user agent will generate a counter representation as normal and would read it out letter by letter in the document language. If the user agent can't pronounce the symbols, it may handle it as numeric.
The counter's value is instead spoken out in the specified style. If the specified style does not exist, this value is treated as auto.

Official Specifications

The speak-as descriptor is defined in CSS Counter Styles Level 3 (W3C Candidate Recommendation, 11 June 2015).