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Jost Gippert: Our Featured Linguist!

"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more



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What is English? And Why Should We Care?

By: Tim William Machan

To find some answers Tim Machan explores the language's present and past, and looks ahead to its futures among the one and a half billion people who speak it. His search is fascinating and important, for definitions of English have influenced education and law in many countries and helped shape the identities of those who live in them.


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Medical Writing in Early Modern English

Edited by Irma Taavitsainen and Paivi Pahta

This volume provides a new perspective on the evolution of the special language of medicine, based on the electronic corpus of Early Modern English Medical Texts, containing over two million words of medical writing from 1500 to 1700.


Academic Paper


Title: Pronunciation Variation Modelling Using Accent Features
Paper URL: http://www.phon.ucl.ac.uk/home/mark/papers/eurosp2005tjalve.pdf
Author: Michael Tjalve
Email: click here to access email
Institution: University College London
Author: Mark A Huckvale
Homepage: http://www.phon.ucl.ac.uk/home/mark/home.htm
Institution: University College London
Linguistic Field: Phonetics
Abstract: In this paper, we propose a novel method for modelling native accented speech. As an alternative to the notion of dialect, we work with the lower level phonological components of accents, which we term accent features. This provides us with a better understanding of how pronunciation varies and it allows us to give a much more detailed picture of a person’s speech.

The accent features are included during phonological adaptation of a speaker-independent Automatic Speech Recognition system in an attempt to make it more robust when exposed to pronunciation variation thus improving recognition performance on accented speech.

We employ a dynamic set-up in which the system first identifies the phonetic characteristics of the user’s speech. It then creates a model of the speaker’s phonological system and adapts the pronunciation dictionary to best match his/her speech. Recognition is subsequently carried out using the adapted pronunciation dictionary.

Experiments on British English speech data show a significant relative improvement in error rate of 20% compared with the traditional non-adaptive method.
Type: Individual Paper
Status: Completed
Venue: Proc. EuroSpeech 2005, Lisbon, Portugal
URL: http://www.phon.ucl.ac.uk/home/mark/papers/eurosp2005tjalve.pdf


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