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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

All the phonemes

In the past year I have spent a LOT of time cutting up pre-recorded text to make new words for projects such as "Chaliff Lifestory" and "Room-Record" and going back to obscure video projects I did years ago.

Because I will have to do this kind of activity again to create "Anomalies" (audio clues for the B L A C K C L O U D project), I was thinking about how I could record all the phonemes in English in one fell swoop.

Phonemes are the basic SOUNDS of the language. This is different from the letters of the alphabet (everyone knows about the quick brown fox).

I started looking for a sentence (or paragraph) that used all the phonemes from English. I've seen it called a "panphonic" sentence. I found a lot of false leads, but here is the only true attempt I've been able to locate.

The pleasure of Shawn’s company
Is what I most enjoy.
He put a tack on Ms. Yancey’s chair
When she called him a horrible boy.
At the end of the month he was flinging two kittens
Across the width of the room.
I count on his schemes to show me a way now
Of getting away from my gloom.

Wonderful Maxwell's Silver Hammer feeling!

Thanks to Literal-Minded, a neat-looking linguistics blog. Check it out to read the interesting backstory on this... Involves Philip K. Dick, yo!

Of course, I've read in Linguistics books and learned from experience editing that consonants can't be separated from the vowels that follow them, and there are lots of other issues such as guttural stops, gliding vowels, etc. S o this sentence would have to be rapidly expanded to account for all these things. However, Literal-Minded gets mad points (and a reader) for acknowledging this in an intelligent way. There is no conclusion on these things, but I'm happy someone else is thinking about them...

I wonder if a true panphonic sentence has been developed by companies that develop automated voices for phonebots? Perhaps they have an approach that is a tad more practical and less fun but, whatever, I want to be able to use it myself!

Tis a bummer these things are proprietary. I wish this information was out there - it would allow me to be more productive and entertain(ing/ed).


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the kind words. So, did you try the "Ask Stella" paragraph from the Speech Accent Archive project?

Eiffel Gwazdor said...