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Swiss VoiceApp - Your voice. Your identity.

English title Swiss VoiceApp - Your voice. Your identity.
Applicant Leemann Adrian
Number 145654
Funding scheme Agora
Research institution Phonetisches Laboratorium Institut für Computerlinguistik Universität Zürich
Institution of higher education University of Zurich - ZH
Main discipline German and English languages and literature
Start/End 01.02.2013 - 31.01.2015
Approved amount 186'046.00
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Keywords (1)

Human voice, Swiss German dialects, voice profile,

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Unsere Stimme - unsere Identität: Mitmenschen erkennen uns an der Stimme, am Dialekt; diese wiederum lassen uns eine bestimmte Identität vermitteln - oder verschleiern. Die Swiss VoiceApp nimmt ihre Nutzer mit zur Erforschung ihrer stimmlichen Identität.
Lay summary

Inhalt und Ziel des Forschungsprojekts

In der Schweiz gibt es Stimmen und Dialekte so weit die Ohren reichen. Diese sind Teil unserer individuellen und kollektiven Identität. Wir kreieren eine interaktive VoiceApp, um diese Stimmen und Dialekte zu sehen, zu hören, aufzunehmen, aufzubewahren – und ihre Einzigartigkeit zu entdecken. Durch die hochsensiblen eingebauten Mikrophone von Smartphones kann die VoiceApp präzise Aufnahmen der Stimmen ihrer Nutzer verarbeiten. Auf spielerische Art und Weise lernen Nutzer verschiedene Eigenschaften ihrer Stimme kennen. Dabei entdecken sie, worin sie sich von anderen Nutzern unterscheiden – oder ihnen gleichen. Weiter erlaubt die automatische Spracherkennung eine geographisch präzise Lokalisierung von Schweizer Dialekten. Dabei sprechen Nutzer bestimmte Wörter in das Mikrophon und werden durch ihre Aussprache einer bestimmten Region zugeordnet. Über eine interaktive Karte können die von anderen Personen aufgenommenen Stimmen und Dialekte angehört werden. So entsteht eine auditive Reise durch die Schweizer Sprech- und Sprachlandschaft.

 

Wissenschaftlicher und gesellschaftlicher Kontext

Wir möchten vermitteln, wie einzigartig Menschen durch ihre Stimme sind – und doch durch ihre gemeinsamen Dialekte verbunden sind. Damit greifen wir ein gesellschaftliches Interesse auf und sensibilisieren die Öffentlichkeit für Schweizer Stimmen und schweizerdeutsche Dialekte. Weiter archiviert die Swiss VoiceApp ein wertvolles kulturelles Gut. Dafür nutzen wir unsere Ergebnisse aus der Forschung zur Sprechererkennung und zur Schweizer Dialektologie.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 28.01.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Jean-Philippe Goldman, University of Geneva Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
ETH Zürich Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication

Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Other activities App International 2015
Media relations: print media, online media Computerworld Computerworld German-speaking Switzerland 2015
Talks/events/exhibitions Crowdsourcing mittels Swiss VoiceApp: Eine Brücke zwischen Dialektforschung und Öffentlichkeit. Alem International 2015
Print (books, brochures, leaflets) Documenting Sound Change with Smartphone Apps. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America International 2015
Media relations: print media, online media Limmattaler Zeitung Limmattaler Zeitung German-speaking Switzerland 2015
Media relations: radio, television Siehe Link für jegliche Medienarbeit SRF etc. German-speaking Switzerland 2015
Media relations: print media, online media Solothurner Zeitung Solothurner Zeitung German-speaking Switzerland 2015
Media relations: radio, television SRF SRF German-speaking Switzerland 2015
Print (books, brochures, leaflets) Swiss Voice App: “My voice – my dialect”, in: Leemann, A., M.-J. Kolly, S. Schmid, V. Dellwo (eds.), International 2015
Media relations: print media, online media Tagesanzeiger Tagesanzeiger German-speaking Switzerland 2015
Talks/events/exhibitions Using the smartphone application ‘Voice Äpp’ to collect speech population data: implications for for International 2015
Talks/events/exhibitions Voice Äpp: a mobile app for crowdsourcing Swiss German dialect data International 2015
Print (books, brochures, leaflets) Voice Äpp: a mobile app for crowdsourcing Swiss German dialect data. Proceedings of Interspeech 2015 International 2015
Media relations: print media, online media Zentralplus Zentralplus German-speaking Switzerland 2015
Print (books, brochures, leaflets) A Crowdsourcing Smartphone Application for Swiss German: Putting language documentation in the hands International 2014
Talks/events/exhibitions Voice Äpp. A smartphone application for crowdsourcing Swiss German dialect data. 07/2014 Lausanne International 2014
Print (books, brochures, leaflets) Voice Äpp. A smartphone application for crowdsourcing Swiss German dialect data. Proceedings of Digi International 2014

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
158094 Trends in Phonetics and Phonology. Studies from German-speaking Europe 01.12.2014 Publication grants
148585 Word stress: dialectal variation and perception 01.06.2013 International Exploratory Workshops
135287 Speaker Identification Based on Speech Temporal Information: A Forensic Phonetic Study of Speech Rhythm and Timing in Swiss Standard German 01.09.2011 Project funding
155024 “Judging by your accent, you must be French” - which phonetic information is necessary for foreign accent recognition? 01.12.2014 Doc.Mobility

Abstract

Voices are highly individual and people often wonder where this individuality stems from. When we are on the phone, friends and family only need a short “Grüezi” to allow them to correctly identify our voices. When we hear an unknown voice, we can often guess correctly attributes like sex, age, health, and mood. Beyond that, human voices contain a vast number of characteristics that inform us of the speaker’s specific regional and social background. As a naïve user of spoken language, these identification processes happen completely subliminally. Applications such as the free of charge DialäktÄpp (Wemakeit.ch 2012) and Chochichäschtli-Orakel (1 CHF) showed that the Swiss German public is keen on learning and understanding more about their own voices and the Swiss dialectal landscape.The goal of this project is the creation and distribution of a multi-media application “VoiceApp” (the name will probably be changed during the course of the project in a way that is good for effective publicity) for iOS (iPhone, iPad), Android, and Blackberry devices. The app pursues the goal to raise awareness of the functioning of one’s voice for a broad Swiss German public. Users will learn typical characteristics of vocal variation in Swiss German in a playful way. Based on an already existing Pilot (DialäktÄpp), the VoiceApp will primarily give an understanding to the general public of a number of aspects from our SNF-supported project “Speaker identification based on temporal information” (Project Nr. 100015-135287), and at the same time raise awareness of phonetics and Swiss German dialectology as a field of inquiry as a whole. The main dialogue between the project team and the public is given through the multifaceted interactivity of our VoiceApp. The VoiceApp project also fits in nicely with other SNF-supported projects at the University of Zurich, such as for example the University of Zurich Research Priority Program (Forschungsschwerpunkt) “Language and Space”.The application itself will inform the users of two aspects of their voices: 1). The functioning and characterization of their voices based on orally produced samples, e.g. pitch, speaking rate, melody etc. Users will be able to compare their values with those of other users (such as for example averages from the Swiss-German-speaking population). 2). A localization of the user’s dialectal background by means of state-of-the-art speech recognition technology. As a means to an end, the VoiceApp depicts the user’s voice primarily through pictures and graphs (i.e. without complicated numbers and formulas). Users are further able to interact with other users’ recordings on the VoiceApp and its website, the non-mobile equivalent to the VoiceApp. An FAQs tab in the app and on the website will provide answers to the most commonly asked questions regarding the contents of the app and thus allows for additional contact between the project team and the users. With these means, a discussion about one’s own voice, one’s own way of speaking, and one’s dialect, is made publicly available. A comparable platform, to our knowledge, does not exist in Switzerland or elsewhere. As will be shown in this proposal, the public interest and demand for such an application is quite remarkable.For the distribution of this app, we will primarily use internet channels that are effective for good publicity, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Wikipedia. Traditional channels (newspapers, radio, and TV) as well as scientific platforms (e.g. www.scientifica.ch) or museums (e.g. the museum for communication in Bern), will also be tapped into. The applicants show experience with all these channels of communication.
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