Posts tagged “speech”

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from julienorvaisas] Music and speech share a code for communicating sadness in the minor third [Scientific American] – [We unconsciously employ culturally-imbued musical cues and tonal differentials with each other to convey emotion, sadness being one. This seems so obvious once it's stated, and so important to our methodologies, as we search for emotional response and connection.] The tangible relationship between music and emotion is no surprise to anyone, but a study in the June issue of Emotion suggests the minor third isn't a facet of musical communication alone—it's how we convey sadness in speech, too. When it comes to sorrow, music and human speech might speak the same language. Since the minor third is defined as a specific measurable distance between pitches (a ratio of frequencies), Curtis was able to identify when the actors' speech relied on the minor third. What she found is that the actors consistently used the minor third to express sadness.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Rest in Peas: The Unrecognized Death of Speech Recognition [robertfortner] – Progress in conversational speech recognition accuracy has clearly halted and we have abandoned further frontal assaults. The research arm of the Pentagon, DARPA, declared victory and withdrew. Many decades ago, DARPA funded the basic research behind both the Internet and today’s mouse-and-menus computer interface. More recently, the agency financed investigations into conversational speech recognition but shifted priorities and money after accuracy plateaued. Microsoft Research persisted longer in its pursuit of a seeing, talking computer. But that vision became increasingly spectral, and today none of the Speech Technology group’s projects aspire to push speech recognition to human levels.
    [Speech recognition comes up all the time in user research. It represents some idealized version of "easy-to-use" though people typically recognize the demanding social norms that talking-to-tech evokes and reject the ideal they moments ago requested /SP]
    (via kicker)
  • As Seen on TV – a tribute to doing it wrong [YouTube] – A collection of supposed Epic Fail moments from our daily lives recreated by TV commercials as a precursor to the solution being offered /SP

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Profile of Hollywood dialect coach Tim Monich – Until the advent of television news, we had little idea about how people spoke in other regions and so there was little expectation (or awareness) among viewers for authentic accents in film.
  • Authenticity in languages for science-fiction films – Among discerning science-fiction movie fans, however, expectations are more sophisticated now when it comes to alien tongues, and for that we have the Berkeley-trained linguist Marc Okrand to thank. Okrand worked as a consultant on the “Star Trek” films, and his crowning glory is the development of Klingon, the most fully realized science-fiction language devised thus far.
  • In the Land of Invented Languages by Arika Okrent – Just about everyone has heard of Esperanto, which was nothing less than one man’s attempt to bring about world peace by means of linguistic solidarity. And every Star Trek fan knows about Klingon, which was nothing more than a television show’s attempt to create a tough-sounding language befitting a warrior race with ridged foreheads. But few people have heard of Babm, Blissymbolics, and the nearly nine hundred other invented languages that represent the hard work, high hopes, and full-blown delusions of so many misguided souls over the centuries.
  • Deborah Solomon’s questions for Jeff Bezos – Q: What do you say to Kindle users who like to read in the bathtub?
    A: I’ll tell you what I do. I take a one-gallon Ziploc bag, and I put my Kindle in my one-gallon Ziploc bag, and it works beautifully. It’s much better than a physical book, because obviously if you put your physical book in a Ziploc bag you can’t turn the pages. But with Kindle, you can just push the buttons.
    Q: What if you dropped your Kindle in the bathtub?
    A: If it’s sealed in a one-gallon Ziploc bag? Why don’t you try that experiment and let me know.

Portigal gets The Get: First Interview with Talia (Portigal-)Todd

Last weekend we had a baby naming ceremony for my brand-new niece, Talia. As part of the ceremony, there were readings and speeches from family and friends. Here’s what I read, using a tiny bib and hat on one hand to represent the other party in the dialogue. Apologies for some of the in-jokes that won’t read here.


In preparation for today’s event, which is of course all about Talia, I thought it would be great to get the perspective of the person we’re all here to welcome and honor, Talia herself. I got in touch with her earlier in the week and did an informal interview. It ran a little long, so I’ve cut it down and will be reading an edited version.

SP: Talia, thanks so much for taking the time to talk with me.

TPT: Poo.

SP: I’m sorry?

TPT: Oh, sorry about that. I just thought I’d start there.

SP: Um, good. Great. Listen, I wanted to ask you —-

TPT: (interrupts) Poo.

SP: Yes, I think we’ve covered that. So to move along, what do you make of things so far?

TPT: Totally freakin’ awesome. I’m pleased as punch to be here. I’ve booked myself a pretty sweet gig, as far as I can tell.

SP: In what way?

TPT: Well, non-stop hamburgers and pizza.

SP: What?

TPT: Yeah, hamburgers and pizza. I love ’em.

SP: I’m pretty surprised. I didn’t think you’d be eating solid food by now.

TPT: Hamburgers are solid?

SP: Yep. And pizza too.

TPT: -..hmmm-.well someone told me those were hamburgers I was eating, and I just figured pizza as well.

SP: I think someone was messing with you-

TPT: I guess so. Huh. Well, when it comes to messing with an infant, let’s just say that two can play at that game.

SP: Before we go back to the whole poo thing again, let’s move along. What’s going on at home right now?

TPT: It’s a lot of fun. I am totally hitting it off with Lenny.

SP: Really? I’m a little surprised to hear that!

TPT: Oh, no, he’s totally cool. He plays guitar, and he has a wicked sense of humor. Loves to sweep and clean.

SP: I don’t think that’s Lenny you’re talking about.

TPT: Really? Who’s Lenny, then?

SP: About your size. Dark fur. Pokey claws.

TPT: Next question.

SP: Sorry.

TPT: Well, who was it I was talking about? Is that Brucey?

SP: He probably wants you to call him “Dad.”

TPT: Dad, eh? Whatever it takes.

SP: I think they’d also accept Daddy or Da-da.

TPT: Get outa here? That’s better than Brucey? Whatever it takes.

SP: What about you? What do you think about Talia?

TPT: What do I think about who?

SP: What do you think about your name, Talia.

TPT: Oh, right. I’m still not used to it. I always think people are talking about Talia Shire.

SP: Talia Shire?

TPT: Yeah, you know “Aaaaa-drian” and all that.

SP: I wouldn’t even mention that if I were you.

TPT: Ah. Word to the wise. Will do.

SP: What else is going on at home?

TPT: Did I mention my Mommy?

SP: No, you didn’t.

TPT: Oh, sorry. I’m still filling out my short-term memory. I mean, it’s pretty much ALL short-term memory at this point, so it’s a little full, if you know what I’m saying.

SP: I think I do.

TPT: Okay, then.

SP: You were saying?

TPT: What?

SP: Your mommy?

TPT: Oh, right, right. Well, the woman is a marvel. Blankets whenever I want them. She and the other one are always cooking. Mostly for their friends, but still, I’m hoping for the odd scrap now and again. And let me tell you, she can SHOP like nobody’s business. I mean, I haven’t seen a lot of shopping so far, but my impressions of her are very solid.

SP: Actually, she helped me pick out the shirt I’m wearing right now.

TPT: Does it have bunnies on it?

SP: No, it doesn’t.

TPT: Trust me, go for the bunnies. You can’t go wrong.

SP: Okay, good advice. So what else is on your mind?

TPT: Have you read this thing in the news about the head of the CBC?

SP: I don’t get a ton of Canadian news where I live, but I did hear a little bit about it.

TPT: Totally cracks me up. He got fired for saying how great it was to poo. I want that job!

SP: It looks like we’re running out of time here, so thanks so much.

TPT: Did I say poo?

SP: I think you did.


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