Putting words into dogs’ mouths – ventriloquistically

Professor Sirpa Leppänen of the Department of Languages, University of Jyväskylä, Finland, has a paper in Discourse, Context & Media (Volume 8, June 2015) about the ventriloquistic authentication of the human voice, as found in dog blogs. “It approaches dog blogs as an example of the strategic use of pervasive but contentious anthropomorphic western discourses […]

Praga-dialectics update: An analysis of “Yes, but …”

The ArgLab at the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal, is concerned with argumentation and decision making processes as far as they can be philosophically approached and thus related with Practical Reason and Values. For a representative recent publication from the lab, see: ‘Managing disagreement through yes, but… constructions: An […]

“Um”ing and “Uh”ing (when dosed with Ketamine)

Many people spontaneously use the word (or sound) “Um” in conversation, a phenomenon which has prompted a considerable volume of academic attention (some of which we discussed recently). A question arises though, can someone be induced to say “Um” by chemical means – say with the use of a powerful anaesthetic? Like, for example Ketamine? [Note: […]

The uses and meanings of “Um” revisited

Back in 2010, we partially examined the oeuvre of Emanuel A. Schegloff, Professor Emeritus at the Department of Sociology, University of California, Los Angeles. Specifically his work on the meaning of “Uh(m)”s. Perhaps now’s the time to revisit “um” in academia? So may we also recommend the following papers, all of which can be read […]

Misheard Song Lyrics (computerised)

As enthusiasts of kissthisguy.com  (* see note below) will know, the task of correctly identifying pop music lyrics is not always 100% straightforward. Here’s one to try . . . Difficulties arise not only for human listeners, but also for computerised speech-recognition systems. In spite of, or perhaps because of its inherent complexity, there are […]

Progress in Automatic Flirtation Detection

“Detecting human social meaning is a difficult task for automatic conversational understanding systems.” – explain a research team [pictured] based at Stanford University, who have investigated the viabilities of an automatic flirtation detector. “Our flirtation detection system uses prosodic, dialogue, and lexical features to detect a speaker’s intent to flirt with up to 71.5% accuracy […]

A study of domestic cat meows, to be presented in Dublin

The world’s ongoing research effort to understand cat meows will center, for a shining moment in May, in Dublin, Ireland.The assembled delegates will there “A Study of Human Perception of Intonation in Domestic Cat Meows,” Susanne Schötz [pictured here, above] and Joost van de Weijer [pictured here, below], [paper to be presented at the conference] Proceedings […]

Disguising your voice against auto-recognition — various methods

Given the current interest in the implications of automated computer analysis of voice recordings, say for example telephone calls, it’s perhaps not surprising that some might have thought about disguising their voice to (try to) avoid recognition and/or obfuscate the content. But those who work professionally in the voice-recognition field have been investigating such nefarious […]

Improbable Research