Friday, March 27, 2009

WiSCO bumper stickers and t-shirts!

The Phonetics Lab crew at UW–Madison, led by Tom Purnell, has developed a software package called WiSCO – Wisconsin Speech Chain Online. It gets students plotting their vowels with minimal training, and allows them to compare their vowel system, or parts thereof, to those of others. So, you can see how raised your /æ/ in bag is compared to folks from Minnesota or Illinois, or how fronted your /a/ is. I know they're looking to go public with the program once they get a couple of details worked out.

In the meantime, this week, bumper stickers (basically like the image below) started popping up around campus.

And just this morning, I heard that you can order t-shirts from CafePress, with no markup, from here. Woohoo.


Andrea said...

This is a fantastic program, and I can't wait until it goes public. The logo is great, too!

squires said...

This sounds super cool - I can't wait for its public-ness, either!

Joe said...

The first printing of the stickers is -- to my alarm -- virtually gone, but if anybody is eager to have one, drop me a line
and I'll try to give you one (if you're lucky enough to be in Madison), bring it to a conference (if we travel the same circuit), or even mail you one.

But the program itself IS cool.

Anonymous said...

Definitely interested in hearing more about the software. I've fiddled around with Praat (although not the most recent version) and generally found it extremely fiddly and hard to use, so news of simpler tools makes me sit up and take notice.

Questions that occur immediately: (1) Does it handle diphthongs, or is it limited to pure vowels? (2) Can it be used for any dialect/language, or does it assume a particular phoneme inventory? (3) When will we be able to see screenshots on the Web?

Mr. Verb said...

Quick answers:

--Like all software now, PRAAT allows extremely dynamic views of vowels, so that you can plot any trajectory in detail, of course, and WiSCO uses two points, clearly marking the head and tail and showing the direction. (/æ/ for Upper Midwestern speakers can move up and forward or down and back, and you can see that.)

--It just plots the F1xF2 space, with no assumptions about inventory. (They're doing some German and Spanish data in it now, I think.)

--Yeah, we need to get those guys to post a couple of screen shots.

Tristan Mahr said...