Phonetic Analysis with Praat

Katherine Nelson and Penelope Howe

While it is important to pay close attention to consultants’ production during fieldwork sessions and to attempt impressionistic transcriptions, computer-based analysis can provide much more in-depth phonetic information, often revealing contrasts that might be missed by the fieldworker due to his/her native language phonology. This course will introduce students to the Praat software and its myriad applications in phonetic analysis and experimentation. We will address relevant issues concerning recording, digitization, and file types, and demonstrate best practices in implementation of the measurement capabilities of Praat and the use of Praat to generate, manipulate, and synthesize sounds. Finally, we will give an introduction to Praat scripting and to the creation of simple perception experiments and stand-alone interactive modules.

This course will rely heavily on examples and in-class practice exercises. After addressing the fundamental issues concerning recording, digitization and file types, the general approach will be to describe and demonstrate an analysis, indicating the effects and appropriate instances of use for relevant settings, and then to allow students to tackle practice exercises in class, giving individual feedback as necessary.  These activities will be collected by the instructors and evaluated for completion and attention to the relevant techniques taught during the class session.