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Language and Speech technology


Admission requirements

Background in general linguistics and psycholinguistics. Students are expected to be familiar with the contents of a general phonetics textbook, such as Rietveld & van Heuven (2009) Algemene Fonetiek [General Phonetics] (Coutinho, Bussum), Ladefoged (2001) A Course in Phonetics. Students should have completed the course Analysis and Synthesis of Speech (5194KTH06) by Jos Pacilly. Knowledge of statistics, e-prime, and Praat would be a necessary.


This course will address an important challenge in speech technology: the encoding (in speech synthesis) and decoding (in speech recognition) of ambiguous structures during on-line human-machine interactions. We will explore the possible role of prosody in successful human-machine interactive systems, by investigating how speakers use prosodic features to encode ambiguous constructions (e.g. different types of relative clauses), and how, in turn, listeners decode such usages of prosody. Students will collaborate upon an experiment and write up an in-depth report of their findings on the topic or a research proposal with solid pilot data. In addition, students will learn about the state-of-the-art of various fields of speech technology via a series of guest lectures.

Course objectives

After taking this class, students should be able to

  • critically evaluate original research articles (their goals, methods, findings, and interpretations) in the area of experimental linguistics.

  • give an oral presentation on a scientific paper or their own project to a group of peers and to evaluate peer presentations.

  • learn how to collaborate on an experiment to address a question of scientific interest.

  • write up an in-depth research project/ proposal with convincing data.



Mode of instruction

Seminar in English which includes lectures, student presentations, and hands-on project

Course Load

  • The course load of this course is 140 hours
    • hours spent on attending lectures and preparing for discussions: 40 hours
    • time for studying the compulsory literature + hands on project: 70 hours
    • time to write a report (including reading literature + writing up of the results): 30 hours

Assessment method

  1. Oral presentations of 1) the reading materials and 2) your research proposal (40%)
    1. Peer-review of your participation and contribution to the class 20%
    2. Final assignment (end-term final paper): 40%


This course is supported by Blackboard, which will be used to provide students with an overview of the course, as well as specific information about updates/current affairs of the course.


Reading list

Mainly journal articles


Enrollment through uSis for the course and the examination or paper is mandatory.