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Jill Robbins, Chair 150 W 21st Street, Stop B3700, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4936

Spring 2010

SPN 383N • Experimental Methods

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
47929 TTh
3:30 PM-5:00 PM
BEN 1.118

Course Description

This course is a practical introduction to experimental design in phonetics. In the first part of the course, students will perform their first experiment following a series of tutorials on an experiment that has already been designed for this course. At each step, students will receive information about data collection (recording speech or reaction times, questionnaires, etc,..), fundamentals on design (formulate a research question, relate dependent and independent variables, operational definitions and measurements, scripting in Praat), basics of data analysis (basic statistics, plotting relevant graphs). Special emphasis will be placed in relating their results with the research question. All this information will be aimed at solving the experiment they are performing. The objective of these hands-on classes is to familiarize students with the basics of experimental design. In the second part of the course, students will be exposed to a wide range of experimental methods in phonetics and phonology from acoustic data analysis in spectrograms, to palatography, aerodynamic recordings, work with large corpus, perception experiments, etc. Each of these methods will be illustrated by reading a published research paper and understanding the methods used. The course is directed to students of phonetics/linguistics from different departments: Spanish and Portuguese, Linguistics, Speech Pathology. The language under investigation will be Spanish, but the class will be taught in English. Summary of the Objectives: Understand the basic character of an experiment: a) be able to define and use the terms Independent Variable and Dependent Variable b) understand the difference between independent samples, matched samples and repeated measures designs c) be familiar with common pitfalls in experimental design Acquiring and managing a speech corpus. Formulating a linguistically inspired research question (phonology: segments, phonemes, discrete representations, the lexicon, arbitrary rules) that could be answered by a speech corpus (phonetics: durations, spectra, pitches, silences, noises). Designing an experiment on a speech corpus (selection of tokens and speakers, selection of analysis methods). Collecting the data. a) automating the procedures for data collection and analysis in a Praat script.


Tentative Readings: C. Robson, "Experiment, Design and Statistics in Psychology", Penguin Books 1994. K. Hayward, Experimental Phonetics, Longman, 2000 N. J. Lass, Principles of Experimental Phonetics, Mosby, 1995.


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