Course Description | Course Schedule | Classes | Assignments | News

Questions and AnswersStudent: How do I conduct an   experiment?Answer: First you need to   pose a research question.Student: Perfect! What are the   vowels?

Answer: Errr! An experiment is a research study   where you check the effect of one variable (we call this independent   variable, such as stress position, speaker gender, age etc.) on something you measure for example the   vowel formants, or the vowel duration, or the VOT for stops; the thing you   measure is the dependent variable.

Student: Perfect! What are the   vowels? …err I mean “What is the effect of speaker gender and speaker age on   vowel formants?

Answer: Excellent! This is a much better question!!!

You   should read the relevant pages from Ladefoged’s book “vowels and consonants”,   or any other relevant book (these matters are covered in most cases in 2 or 3   pages). You should ask me again when you have fully understood the topic.

(see speech analysis tutorial for a general overview)

Here’s   what sound waves look like. The caption reads, “A visible pattern of   sound waves. This new technique of studying sound demonstrates the focusing   effect of an acoustical lens on sound waves issuing from the horn at extreme   left. Wave pattern is produced by a scanning technique . . .” Bell   Telephone Laboratories (external link) photograph, from the book The First   Book of Sound: A Basic Guide to the Science of Acoustics by David C. Knight,   Franklin Watts, Inc. New York (1960). p. 80


  1. First you have to make a choice by filling   this form.
  2. Proposed experimental questions.
  3. Arrange a meeting for the recording. You may   share your sounds.
  4. Working with Praat: Instructions.
  5. Use this (ten pages) article as a writing example. You may read it as well if you feel that   this is relevant for your study.



You should visit the library for relevant materials. Download also these pages from Ladefoged, Peter. (2001). Vowels and consonants: an introduction to the sounds of languages. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

Lectures employ examples mostly from English, but   the assignment is about your pronunciation in your mother tongue. This is   because for most of you English is an acquired language. If you want more   information about your pronunciation you may have a look at his book (in   Greek).

More information about Praat are available here (in English) and here (in   Greek).