1 Transcription Homework Ling. 124, April 26, 2011 This assignment involves collecting some spoken discourse and transcribing it. You can use any language you like; if your native language isn’t English, feel free to collect data in that language. MAKING THE RECORDING Some types of spoken discourse you could collect: 1. Face-to-face conversation (with a tape-recorder, minidisc, or video camera). Examples of speech events you could record include: 'hanging out', sharing a meal, playing games, task related talk (e.g. study groups, meetings, projects such as home repair or cooking, etc.). Your job will be much easier if speech participants not exceed three or four at maximum. You should try and record in a fairly quiet environment, and minimize background noise as much as possible. The best audio quality comes from using an external stereo microphone, although this is not necessary for this assignment. Be sure to get prior consent or blanket permission from the people you are recording! If they are worried about privacy, you can change their names when you transcribe. 2. telephone conversation (with the record function of an answering machine or with a phone patch). Again, you need to be sure and get permission from the people you are recording. 3. unscripted talk radio or television (with your stereo's cassette deck or with a VCR). Be sure the program you are recording is unscripted, such as a call-in show. News shows use a teleprompter: the announcer is actually reading aloud. Make sure you know how to operate your equipment before recording and that you are using fresh batteries! You may want to do a brief test to check that everything is working. The length of your recording should be between 30 minutes and an hour. CHOOSING A SEGMENT After you have made your recording, your next step is to pick approximately 10 minutes of the tape to transcribe. Since the next assignment is on quoted speech, you should choose a segment that has as much quoted speech as possible in it. TRANSCRIPTION After you have chosen your segment, make a transcript of it as described below, using the transcription conventions on the attached page. For this project, you should include at least the following information in your transcript: 1. Words: what was said. Concentrate on one speaker at a time. If you can’t understand something, use the <X X> notation and give your best guess. 2 2. Speakers/turns: figure out what who said what, and indicate with speaker labels in the left margins. (You can change names or use initials if your speakers are concerned about confidentiality.) 3. Intonation units: use line breaks to indicate the major intonation breaks, and use punctuation to indicate what kind of intonation contour was involved. Use punctuation to roughly indicate the type of intonation at the end of each Intonation Unit (period for falling intonation that sounds "final", question-mark for sharply rising intonation, comma for something that sounds like it will continue, and a double-dash for something which is truncated/abandoned.) 4. Overlaps and backchannels: where more than one speaker is talking at once. Use numbered brackets to indicate where the overlap is. 3 Transcription Conventions (from Du Bois et Al, 1993) Each line represents a single Intonation Unit. Roughly defined, an Intonation Unit (IU) is a stretch of speech produced under a single intonation contour. IUs are often preceded and followed by pauses, may contain prosodic lengthening on the final syllable, and may be marked by initial pitch reset. The IU is said to correspond to a single focus of attention in the mind of the speaker. For this project, don't worry too much about a precise definition of Intonation Units. Transcribe IUs according to your impressions of whether a chunk of speech sounds like it's a single unit, produced under a single intonation contour. Speaker labels appear in uppercase, and are followed by a colon. Only use a speaker label on the first IU of a given speaker's turn--don't repeat them on each line unless there's a new speaker. Speaker labels should appear at the left margin, and each IU should begin at the first tab stop from the margin. Simultaneous speech is indicated by square brackets, aligned to show the beginning of each overlap. (See the "Deadly Diseases" transcript excerpt for examples.) Every IU needs to end with an indication of its "transitional continuity", a punctuation sign to roughly indicate pitch direction. . Final intonation contour (usually a low falling pitch). , Continuing intonation contour (level, or slight rise). ? Appeal intonation contour (sharp rise in pitch). -- Truncated/abandoned Intonation Unit. Note these symbols represent intonation, and might not correspond to how you would use them in writing. - Truncated word. X indecipherable syllable. @ One pulse of laughter. % Glottal stop. = Prosodic lengthening. .. Short pause (less-than roughly 0.8 seconds) ... Long pause (longer than roughly 0.8 seconds) (TSK) Tongue click. (H) In-breath. (Hx) exhale. <VOX words VOX> Speech has unique voice quality. <@ words @> Words are spoken while laughing; can also be written @word @word @word. <X words X> Uncertain transcription.
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