Researcher records Territory ‘true talk’


AusTalk Data Collection Manager Bruce Birch is recording the speech of long-term Territorians

AusTalk Data Collection Manager Bruce Birch is recording the speech of long-term Territorians

A researcher will capture the unique ways Territorians speak via a series of audio recordings for a national database.

AusTalk Data Collection Manager Bruce Birch has begun recording the speech of long-term Territorians at the Northern Institute at Charles Darwin University for the AusTalk database.

The database will help researchers gain better understandings of spoken Northern Territory-Australian English by recording residents of various ages and backgrounds and from remote, rural and urban areas.

“By creating a database that shows how Australian English is spoken across the country, we gain the opportunity to compare speech across different regions,” Mr Birch said.

“We need the NT to be a part of that. We want to capture what is happening here.”

Mr Birch said he suspected Aboriginal English was having an influence on the Northern Territory-Australian vocabulary.

“There is a melting pot of diverse ethnic backgrounds here in the NT that most likely influence the way English is being spoken,” he said.

“We hope to find out how Territory English differs from the rest of Australia, but at this point we really don’t know that much.”

Mr Birch said the database would help support Australian English speech science research and development, and feed into ongoing improvements of Australian speech technology applications, such as speech recognition systems.

Territory-born and long-term Territorians over the age of 18 are invited to register to take part in the recordings. Participants are required to read words, sentences, and stories off a screen, as well as to participate in naturally occurring conversational settings.

Based at the MARCS Institute at the University of Western Sydney, AusTalk comprises a group of 11 major universities and 30 top speech science and technology experts from across Australia. The project is funded by the Federal Government through an Australia Research Council Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities grant.

For more information and expressions of interest to take part in the project, visit W:

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