LINGUIST List 16.735

Fri Mar 11 2005

FYI: Artificial Speech, Listening Tests; EIU Monash U

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        1.    Tina Bennett, Artificial Speech Listening Tests
        2.    Lorraine Bullock, Distance Education at Monash U, English In Use

Message 1: Artificial Speech Listening Tests

Date: 10-Mar-2005
From: Tina Bennett <>
Subject: Artificial Speech Listening Tests

The Blizzard Challenge 2005:
Evaluating corpus-based speech synthesis on common databases


In order to investigate corpus-based speech synthesis techniques we have
devised a large experiment: a number of research laboratories throughout
the world used the same speech databases to build synthetic voices.

We have set up web-based listening tests that we would like to have as
many people take part in as possible, and we feel that diverse bodies of
participants (i.e. those who are knowledgeable about speech, those
knowledgeable about technology, and lay people) would make for
interesting comparisons. One of the goals of the exercise is not just to find
out how the different systems compare against each other but also to
discover how many participants are sufficient to give significant results.

These tests play various waveform files to the listener who then is asked to
score them on a 1-5 scale, or in some tests type in what they hear.

The results will also be compared with more controlled subsets of listeners,
but we also wish to be able to expand the total number of participants.

To carry out the listening test please go to:

You will be asked to register, then listen to and evaluate a set of sentences.
We find it takes around 30-60 minutes to complete all the tests. It is good if
you can carry this out in a single session, but you can take a break and
return later, continuing from where you left off.

When you have finished, please give us as much feedback (via the
questionnaire) as you are willing. Native language information, etc. will be
especially useful.

Thanks for helping the improvement of spoken output!

Tina Bennett
Ph.D. student, Speech group
Language Technologies Institute
Carnegie Mellon University

Linguistic Field(s): Not Applicable

Message 2: Distance Education at Monash U, English In Use

Date: 10-Mar-2005
From: Lorraine Bullock <>
Subject: Distance Education at Monash U, English In Use


NEW IN 2005
Distance Education is an option that is now available in English In Use (EIU):
A Second Language Perspective. Students can take a first year unit in EIU as
an elective through the Distance Education program at Monash University.
Both semester one, EIU 1010, English in Use: Communication and semester
two, EIU English in Use: Form and Structure are subjects that combine a
practical approach to language with a functional and cultural
understanding of the way in which meaning is created in English. These two
EIU subjects encourage the students' personal language development
through a range of practical projects. During the course students consider
some of the social and cultural influences that create meaning through
interaction in many different language contexts. Either of the subjects
would be of particular benefit for any student who wishes to increase their
knowledge of the communicative functions of English, and particularly for
any students who might be considering tertiary study in an English
academic environment.

A major sequence in English in Use: A Second Language Perspective.
English in Use: A Second Language Perspective is a three year
undergraduate major offered by the School of Languages, Cultures and
Linguistics in the Faculty of Arts at Monash University.

This is a full credit-bearing course that offers both a practical approach as
well as a theoretical understanding of the social, communicative
characteristics of English. An important feature of the course is that all the
subjects have been designed to focus on the students' second language
approach to English.

Students who complete all three years of the course have a range of useful
and practical approaches to constructing and evaluating meaning within
English. This body of knowledge can be transferred into many different
skills and strategies depending on the users professional language
requirements. Past graduates have been able to use many of the
approaches to language studied in English In Use in careers as diversified
as teaching, journalism, marketing, translating, management, science and
information technology. They have become empowered in their ability to
use English and so become better communicators by being able to
manipulate or control their use of English rather than simply have it control
them. Their empowerment comes from their knowledge of the cultural and
social frameworks in which English creates meaning. They understand how
English functions in many different contexts and this both broadens and
deepens the students' insights into how communication is successfully

For further information see the English in Use website:

Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics

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