LINGUIST List 7.50

Thu Jan 11 1996

Sum: Phonetic software

Editor for this issue: Ann Dizdar <>


  1., Sum: phonetic software query

Message 1: Sum: phonetic software query

Date: Fri, 12 Jan 1996 09:30:47 +1300
From: <>
Subject: Sum: phonetic software query
In December I posted the following query:

"We here are looking for suitable software to support articulatory
phonetics instruction on Macs. We have seen the demo package for the
University of Michigan Phonetics software, but before committing
ourselves to that we would be interested in anyone's experience with
that or any other similar software.

"More specifically, we want something which will support the learning
of the IPA symbols, with accompanying sounds and illustrations of
articulatory movements through cartoons or video. Acoustic phonetics
is not so important for our purposes."

I received only one substantive response, which I give below. I must
say I was surprised not to get more. I tend to assume that there must
be lots of technological innovations for teaching phonetics in the big
world out there, and that everyone must be using them apart from
people like me who are over 50 and find computers boring; but maybe I
am wrong.

Anyway, here is the very full response which I got from Nick Reid of
the University of New England, Armidale, NSW, Australia

"Last year I developed an interactive disc-based program that we use
at the University of New England (Australia) to teach phonetics at 1st
year level. It covers topics in speech organs, consonants, Cardinal
Vowels, Australian English Vowels, and has built-in exercises
(including simple 'broad' transcription) that give you instant
feedback scores.

"The program is aimed at practical articulatory and auditory
phonetics, rather than acoustic, and it does have an orientation
towards Australian English, at least in one of the topics. It includes
a static diagram of the oral tract that is only interactive in the
sense that parts of it are highlighted, and information on all parts
can be accessed. It's not dynamic, or manipulable.

"I'm currently expanding the program, working in new topics on
phonation modes, airstream mechanisms, and a section on acoustic
analysis of speech. The new version includes a lot of quick-time
movie resources (tour of the vocal tract, birdseye view of the vocal
folds in a range of phonation modes etc) and is being shifted to the
CD ROM platform. It should be commercially available by early 1997.

"My colleage Helen Fraser has also developed an interactive Voice
Onset Time package which is aimed at 2/3 year level, and which will be
available within a few weeks.

"Here's the specifications you need to know for the 'Introduction to
Phonetics' program..

"For Macintosh you'll need:
* a Mac with a 13" colour monitor
 (ie. this program won't run on a Classic, but will on an LC111 or
2cii etc) 

* 6.6 megs of space (that's 6.6 megs of hard disc space, and at least
3 megs of RAM) * System 6.07 or greater.

"For Windows you'll need
* a PC that uses Windows version 3.0 or 3.1 as an operating system.
* 6.7 megs of space and 4 megs of Memory
* a 13" colour monitor [640x480 pixels] running 256 colours.
* a sound card that is compatible with Sound Blaster (an industry 

"There are no materials to support the teaching materials
(e.g.workbooks, manuals, other documentation etc.). Its self standing,
but intended to be used in conjunction with a text. We used to use it
in an introductory phonetics unit with Fromkin & Rodman's _An
Introduction to Language_ (Rhinehart Holt & Winston, 1988) but now use
it with Crowley et al 's _Design of Language_ (Longman Paul, 1995).

"The 2-disc program 'An Introduction to Phonetics' is commercially
available at $50 per unit [Australian dollars, I assume: AC-M], $35
for 5 units, $25 for 10 units. It may be possible to come to some
site-licensing arrangement with UNE.

"To order this program (or the VOT one) you can can write to:
 The Project Officer
 Distance Education & Open Learning Centre
 UNE, Armidale 2351
Andrew Carstairs-McCarthy
Department of Linguistics, University of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800,
Christchurch, New Zealand
Phone +64-3-364 2211; home phone +64-3-355 5108
Fax +64-3-364 2065
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