While individual speech profile settings may vary from unit to unit, the standard format for Nanite Systems units has remained virtually unchanged since its introduction to the production SXDs in 1988. "Speech Standard 1" has been a constant presence ever since, being reused in military models even while the Consumer Products Division was closed.

The particulars are as follows:

  • No use of contractions in normal speech. Direct quotations (i.e., those where quotation marks would be used in written text) may contain contractions.
  • Referral to the unit as 'it' or 'this unit' when describing itself. Does not apply in action descriptions; use gendered pronouns to refer to the unit in /me poses.
  • Referral to other units using conventional human pronouns, e.g. 'she' or 'he'.
  • Avoidance of slang.
  • Heavy reliance on stock phrases and exact wordings.

  • It is important to note that none of these restrictions are strictly necessary from a technical vantage point. They instead serve to maintain a minimum width for the uncanny valley and assist the unit in resisting any desires for equality with humans. By allowing the machines to refer to each other as if they were people, the rules implicitly acknowledge the pseudo-sentience of those to whom they apply, thereby providing a quiet dignity in the role of servitude.

    Personas bypass unit speech conventions completely, and it is acceptable for a unit with an active persona to speak as a human might, as long as this is in accordance with the persona's character.

    For examples of standard unit speech, see the /texts/ archive.