Talk: Learning Linguistic Categories from Acoustic Structure: Towards a Speech Time Frequency Model

Linguistic information is hard-coded in speech signal. By analysing specific acoustic properties, such as vowel formants and fundamental frequency, acoustic models of speech production aim to elicit this information. I summarise evidence from my research on speech processing and argue that these acoustic models provide only incomplete spectral description and under-represent interactions between acoustic properties. Consequently, they do not do justice to the complex linguistic information encoded in speech.

I then propose a model for speech processing based on parameterised resonant signal elements and an algorithm that analyses vowel samples based on the proposed model. The algorithm provides a rich description of any given segmented vowel sample by using a large number of resonant elements with parameters that are chosen to accurately capture the time-frequency structure of the vowel. The parameters are then used to calculate probabilities. An application of the model successfully classifies vowels, stress, and speech variety. This model is an improvement over methods that only use a small number of formants to describe vowels, has the potential to be used in automatic speech recognition, and is promising for use in applications of forensic linguistics, and speech pathology. Finally, I discuss an ongoing work that aims to extend the model for the analysis of prosody.

@Language and Probability: The CLASP Inauguration Workshop

1561330_clasp_webbanner.jpgThe Centre for Linguistic Theory and Studies in Probability (CLASP) at the Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of Science, University of Gothenburg hosted a one-day workshop to inaugurate the Centre on Thursday 27th August 2015 at Gothia Towers.

The workshop focused on core areas of CLASP’s research mission. It featured short talks by representatives from the university, the Swedish Research Council, CLASP researchers, and members of CLASP’s international Scientific Advisory Committee.

The workshop was collocated with Semdial 2015 – goDIAL.

Talk@University of Munich: An appetite for patterns: Discreteness vs. non-discreteness in speech melody

When: 17.06.2015

Where: University of Munich, German

SoSe 2015

Special note for this term:
The four evening talks at CAS (Center for Advanced Studies, Seestr. 13) form a series of invited lectures entitled “The Birth and Decay of Language”.
[ More information]
Attendance is open to all, but CAS requests registration by email: info@cas.lmu.de

Writing Greek text in Latex

To write Ancient and/or Modern Greek using Latex download this Latex template or copy the following text to your favourite text editor.

% Author: Charalambos Themistocleous
% Date Created: 19.07.2014
% Typeset using XeLaTex
\documentclass[10pt,a4paper]{article}
\usepackage[final]{microtype}
\usepackage[utf8]{inputenc}
\usepackage{amsmath}
\usepackage{amsfonts}
\usepackage{amssymb}
\usepackage[greek,english]{babel}
% I use the following fonts with XeLaTeX to Write Greek.
\usepackage{fontspec}
\usepackage{xunicode}
\usepackage{xltxtra}
% To set the mainfont you need to have the fontspec package.
\setmainfont[Numbers={OldStyle, Proportional},
 Ligatures=TeX, Mapping=tex-text]{Brill-Roman}
% ---> Ligatures=TeX,
%Handling margins
\usepackage{enumitem} % I use this to change itemize [leftmargin=3cm, style=nextline]
\title{\textbf{ΤΙΤΛΟΣ}}
\date{2015}
\begin{document}
\maketitle
This template allows users to write (Ancient and Modern) Greek in Latex. Note: you have to use the XeLaTex engine.\\ Χαιρετισμούς,\\
Χαράλαμπος Θεμιστοκλέους
\end{document}

Then compile it using XeLaTex.

Working with text regions in Emacs

Emacs is clearly one of the greatest free text editors around; it can facilitate text writing, simplify everyday processes, and enhance our productivity. Much of the editor’s functionality is rightly available, yet sometimes we have to add our own code. In the following, I provide some functions that allow text insertion at the beginning (prefix), at the end (suffix) and around (circumfix) a text region.

The following text comes from Friedrich von Schiller’s “The Poetry of Life”:

Who would himself with shadows entertain,
Or gild his life with lights that shine in vain,
Or nurse false hopes that do but cheat the true?–
Though with my dream my heaven should be resigned–
Though the free-pinioned soul that once could dwell
In the large empire of the possible,
This workday life with iron chains may bind,
Yet thus the mastery o’er ourselves we find,
And solemn duty to our acts decreed,
Meets us thus tutored in the hour of need,
With a more sober and submissive mind!
How front necessity–yet bid thy youth
Shun the mild rule of life’s calm sovereign, truth.

(You can read the poem here).

Prefix
To add text at the beginning of this text region, you can select the region, and press C-x M-p. The command line will prompt you to type the prefix. For example,
(1)
“C-x M-p Schiller wrote”:

Alternatively, you can M-x string-insert-rectangle <RET> string <RET>

Schiller wrote: Who would himself with shadows entertain,
Schiller wrote: Or gild his life with lights that shine in vain,
Schiller wrote: Or nurse false hopes that do but cheat the true?–
Schiller wrote: Though with my dream my heaven should be resigned–
Schiller wrote: Though the free-pinioned soul that once could dwell
Schiller wrote: In the large empire of the possible,
Schiller wrote: This workday life with iron chains may bind,
Schiller wrote: Yet thus the mastery o’er ourselves we find,
Schiller wrote: And solemn duty to our acts decreed,
Schiller wrote: Meets us thus tutored in the hour of need,
Schiller wrote: With a more sober and submissive mind!
Schiller wrote: How front necessity–yet bid thy youth
Schiller wrote: Shun the mild rule of life’s calm sovereign, truth.

Suffix
To add text at the end of the text region you have to select the region and press C-x M-s. The command line will prompt you to type the suffix. For example,
(2)
“C-x M-p wrote Schiller””.
Who would himself with shadows entertain,: is a verse written by Schiller.
Or gild his life with lights that shine in vain,: is a verse written by Schiller.
Or nurse false hopes that do but cheat the true?–: is a verse written by Schiller.
Though with my dream my heaven should be resigned–: is a verse written by Schiller.
Though the free-pinioned soul that once could dwell: is a verse written by Schiller.
In the large empire of the possible,: is a verse written by Schiller.
This workday life with iron chains may bind,: is a verse written by Schiller.
Yet thus the mastery o’er ourselves we find,: is a verse written by Schiller.
And solemn duty to our acts decreed,: is a verse written by Schiller.
Meets us thus tutored in the hour of need,: is a verse written by Schiller.
With a more sober and submissive mind!: is a verse written by Schiller.
How front necessity–yet bid thy youth: is a verse written by Schiller.
Shun the mild rule of life’s calm sovereign, truth.: is a verse written by Schiller.

Circumfix
To add text before and after a text region, you have to select the region and press C-x M-c. The command line will prompt you to type the circufix. For example,
(3)
“C-x M-c    %%%   ”
%%% Who would himself with shadows entertain, %%%
%%% Or gild his life with lights that shine in vain, %%%
%%% Or nurse false hopes that do but cheat the true?– %%%
%%% Though with my dream my heaven should be resigned– %%%
%%% Though the free-pinioned soul that once could dwell %%%
%%% In the large empire of the possible, %%%
%%% This workday life with iron chains may bind, %%%
%%% Yet thus the mastery o’er ourselves we find, %%%
%%% And solemn duty to our acts decreed, %%%
%%% Meets us thus tutored in the hour of need, %%%
%%% With a more sober and submissive mind! %%%
%%% How front necessity–yet bid thy youth %%%
%%% Shun the mild rule of life’s calm sovereign, truth. %%%
To achieve this functionality you can add the following code in your .emacs file.

(4)

(defun add-suffix (str b e)
 “prompt user to provide a suffix:”
 (interactive "sSuffix: \nr") 
 (goto-char e)
 (forward-line -1)
 (while (> (point) b)
 (end-of-line)
 (insert str)
 (forward-line -1))
(end-of-line)
 (insert str)
)
(global-set-key (kbd "C-x M-s") 'add-suffix)
;; Add Prefix
(defun add-prefix (str b e)
 “prompt user to provide a prefix“
 (interactive "sPrefix: \nr")
 (goto-char e)
 (forward-line -1)
 (while (> (point) b)
 (beginning-of-line)
 (insert str)
 (forward-line -1))
(beginning-of-line)
 (insert str)
 (forward-line -1))
(global-set-key (kbd "C-x M-p") 'add-prefix)
;; Add Circumfix
(defun add-circumfix (str b e)
 “prompt user to provide a circumflex“
 (interactive "sEnter Circumfix: \nr")
 (goto-char e)
 (forward-line -1)
 (while (> (point) b)
 (end-of-line)
 (insert str)
 (beginning-of-line)
 (insert str)
 (forward-line -1))
 (end-of-line)
 (insert str)
(beginning-of-line)
 (insert str)
 (forward-line -1))
(global-set-key (kbd "C-x M-c") 'add-circumfix)

Talk: Wh. Questions prosodic structure: evidence from (a)typical pre-school children

@ LDG5
Abstract
You are most than welcome to our talk at the 5th International Conference on Language Disorders in Greek (LDG5) that will take place in Limassol, Cyprus, on the 30th and the 31st of May 2014. You can find more information about the conference here. 
.

Wh. Questions prosodic structure: evidence from (a)typical pre-school children

Charalambos Themistocleous1,2 Lena Papadopoulou1,2

1University of Cyprus, 2Cyprus Acquisition Team

Typical children’s tonal production has been compared with atypical (SLI and dyslexic) children’s production in an effort to understand atypical tonal productions. To address this issue a priming test has been delivered to typical and atypical children aged between 4-years and 11-years old; further comparisons were undertaken with typical adult speakers group, which served as a control group. The prosodic acoustic properties, namely fundamental frequency (F0), intensity and duration were examined as correlates of Wh-Questions in Cypriot Greek. The results showed that atypical speakers when they fail to produce typical melodic patterns they compensate by exploiting excessively secondary means such as duration and pause. These findings underline speaker’s compensatory techniques to convey meaningful distinctions.

B 

A Quick Look Plugin for viewing Praat script files and TextGrids in OS X 

To View the contents of your Praat Files by pressing SPC as you do with other documents you may use the Praat Quick Look Plugin. More specifically, the plugin allows you to view Praat files such as Praat Script Files and TextGrids. To do so follow the instructions below:

i. Download the Quick Look Plugin (it is a zip file so unzip it first).
ii. Copy the Plugin to  /Library/QuickLook/
iii. Open Terminal and run the command qlmanage -r

Screen Shot 2014-05-16 at 15.02.35

(You may also view this post here)

Talk @UCLAN: Seeking for an Anchorage. Stability and Variability in Tonal Alignment of Rising Prenuclear Pitch Accents

Talk @UCLAN: Seeking for an Anchorage. Stability and Variability in Tonal Alignment of Rising Prenuclear Pitch Accents

Monday 31 March 2014, 11:30-13:30, Room CY013

This study provides evidence about Cypriot Greek melodic structure; more specifically, it tests the claims of the Segmental Anchoring Hypothesis and the Invariance Hypothesis about the alignment of the rising prenuclear pitch accents. By manipulating the syllable pattern and the number of unstressed syllables that follow the Cypriot Greek prenuclearpitch accent, the study sheds light on the alignment of the L and the H that comprise the prenuclear pitch accent. More specifically, the L persistently aligns inside the onset consonant, a few milliseconds before the stressed vowel. In contrast, the H does not anchor to a specific segment but its alignment varies depending on the number of unstressed syllables that follow the prenuclear pitch accent. Most importantly, these findings suggest that the two hypotheses do not account for the prenuclear pitch accent alignment. Welby and Lœvenbruck (2006)’s Segmental Anchorage Hypothesis, which suggests that the H aligns with respect to a specific segmental region, provides a superior account for the results. In addition, the study proposes the Maximum Differentiation Hypothesis and the Effort Code Hypothesis to account for the alignment of the H within the segmental anchorage. Lastly, the socioprosodic implications of prenuclear pitch accent alignment are discussed.

Biographical Note

Dr. Charalambos Themistocleous is a Special Scientist at the Department of English Studies, University of Cyprus. He holds an MA in Applied Linguistics and an MA in Computational Linguistics. His doctoral thesis entitled “Prosody and Information Structure in Greek” provides an all-encompassing analysis of modern Greek intonation. He received scholarships for excellence by the Cyprus State Scholarship Foundation and the Public Welfare Foundation “Alexander S. Onassis”. He participated in various research programs funded by the Academy of Athens, the Leventis Foundation, and the Open University of Cyprus. He taught Sociolinguistics, Phonetics, Phonology, Research Design & Statistics and Conversation Analysis. He is currently the Press Officer of the Cyprus Linguistic Society. He presented his work in international scientific conferences and his work is published in several book volumes and in peer-reviewed journals. In 2012, in collaboration with Georgia Fragaki and Athanasios Georgakopoulos he edited the volume “Current Trends in Greek Linguistics”, which was published by the Cambridge ScholarsPublishing. He specialises in Phonetics, Phonology, Prosody, and Computational Linguistics. His current research focuses on Information Structure, Sociophonetics, Variational Sociolinguistics, and Socioprosody.