MacKenzie and Turton on crossing the pond

Posted on September 18, 2013 by

The first Langwidge Sandwidge of the year will be on 1st October at 1pm in Samuel Alexander A215. Presenting will be our own Laurel MacKenzie and Danielle Turton, on Crossing the Pond: Extending Automatic Alignment Techniques to British English Dialect Data.

Tools for automatic phonemicization and alignment of speech are gaining currency in sociolinguistic research (e.g. Labov et al., 2013). These tools convert an orthographic transcription into phonemes, then automatically time-­align words and phonemes to the speech signal. However, these processes rely on a standard dictionary of reference pronunciations, and the extent to which they may be used effectively with data from non­-standard dialects is not yet known. In this paper, we evaluate the performance of three different forced alignment tools on data from several dialects of British English. We discuss problem areas for alignment, such as /l/-­vocalisation, glottalisation, and phoneme inventory differences, and we conclude by addressing the effects of inaccurate alignment on automatic vowel measurement and providing recommendations for researchers working with similar data.

Drinks and biscuits provided; bring your own sandwidge. Manchet will see you there!

Featured image: Danielle and Laurel crossing the pond.