A new Golden Age of phonetics? – Mark Liberman (University of Pennsylvania)

October 27, 2009 all-day

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From the perspective of a linguist, today’s vast archives of digital text and speech, along with new analysis techniques from language engineering, look like a wonderful new scientific instrument, a modern equivalent of the 17th-century invention of the telescope and microscope. We can now observe linguistic patterns in space, time, and cultural context, on a scale three to five orders of magnitude greater than in the past, and simultaneously in much greater detail than before. Scientific use of these new instruments remains mainly potential, especially in phonetics and related disciplines, but the next decade is likely to be a new “golden age” of research. This talk will discuss some of the barriers to be overcome, present some successful examples, and speculate about future directions.
Biographical information for Mark Liberman is available from http://ling.upenn.edu/~myl

Center for Language and Speech Processing