Collecting beautiful-sounding characteristic phrases
Estonian language experts plan to synthesise the phrases proffered by students and language enthusiasts as being characteristic of Estonia using the speech synthesisers of other languages. Collocating the Estonian phrases issued by the speech synthesisers, it is possible for every interested Estonian to compare the results and to identify the idiosyncratic sounds of their language. Citizens of other European countries could become aware of the unique sounds of their own languages in the same way. People would have the opportunity to discover what is beautiful and special about their native languages.
The following stages are planned for the organisation of the undertaking in Estonia:
1. The Ministry of Education and Research of Estonia will be collecting beautiful-sounding Estonian phrases from the public (primarily school students) throughout April. The country’s language experts (philologists and speech technologists) will then select examples from among these phrases for speech synthesis. The selected phrases will be synthesised using the speech synthesiser and the same phrases read and recorded by a person for comparison.
2. On 15 May the selected phrases will be sent as text (in the orthographic format of the native language as well as according to the International Phonetic Alphabet) to our international partners – including language technology centre(s) in different EU countries.
3. We will look forward to receiving beautiful-sounding characteristic phrases of the language or languages spoken in EU countries by 2 June, whether selected with the help of the public, by scientists or in some other way. The phrases can be sent to us by e-mail at keeletalgud(at)hm.ee or entered directly on this web-page.
4. By 16 June the phrases will be synthesised using the speech synthesisers of the other languages: language technology centre(s) in different EU countries synthesising the Estonian phrases and vice versa. After this the sound files obtained from the speech synthesisers will be exchanged.
5. The Estonian phrases synthesised in a foreign language will be analysed in Estonia. A number of activities are planned for this stage for different target groups and the public, including the publication of the synthesised and recorded language material and the distribution of the analyses of the results by both students and language scientists.
6. The results of the language project will be compiled as a summary and overview featuring examples illustrating the use of language technology and sent to our partners in October this year.
We are also very interested in attractive audio-visual material (CDs, DVDs and video clips) promoting the possibilities, development and success of language technology in your country, be it a car navigation system which is able to comprehend and respond vocally to enquiries, machine translation or anything else. We are looking to put together a series of television shows on the advances in language technology in different countries. Such material (or the contact details of those from whom it can be obtained) can be forwarded to the chief coordinator of the language initiative.
Chief coordinator of the project in Estonia:
Mr Toomas Liivamägi
Adviser to the Minister
phone: +372 735 0132, fax: +372 735 0250
Ministry of Education and Research of the Republic of Estonia
Munga St. 18, 50088 Tartu