Scottish speech study to use 3D tongue videos

It is hoped the resource will advance a wide range of studies of speech production and accents

Three dimensional videos which show how tongues move during speech feature on a new website, designed to help teachers, scientists, health experts and actors.

The Seeing Speech website, created by a University of Glasgow-led team, includes tongue and vocal tract videos using ultrasound and MRI technology.

The clips show the tongue's movement at full and half speed to allow for study.

Prof Jane Stuart-Smith said it was the first public resources to demonstrate how speech sounds were formed.

The Glasgow University phonetics expert, who was principal investigator on the project, added: "The only resources that we had to work with up to this point were static diagrams and models that break the vocal tract up into sections and provide a fragmented view of what are really synchronised, dynamic actions of the vocal organs."

Accent change

The project was funded by the Carnegie Trust and involved researchers from Glasgow, Queen Margaret, Strathclyde, Edinburgh and Aberdeen universities.

Ultrasound tongue imaging is a comparatively new technique that uses medical ultrasound machines to record an image of the surface of the tongue during speech.

It has been coupled with MRI technology, which images the entire vocal tract including the action of the larynx and the soft palate.

Also included in the resource is a video database showing accent differences in speech production, which aims to help the study of accents and accent change.

Researchers hope the website can be developed into a more substantial teaching and learning resource in future.

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