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Last Updated: Thursday, 30 March 2006, 10:53 GMT 11:53 UK
Computers to learn Cardiff accent
Cardiff's Queen Street
Shoppers in Cardiff can donate their accents to help develop software
Do you speak "Kairdiff"? If so, your accent could help teach a computer how to recognise people who come from Wales' capital city.

A team of researchers is visiting the city to find people with the genuine Cardiff accent in order to record their way of speaking.

They are hoping to improve speech recognition software, which does not always work well with regional accents.

University of Birmingham academics are spending two days in the city.

Researchers from the Speech Ark, a spin-off company from the university's Department of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering, are interviewing people at Cardiff Central Library on Thursday and Friday.

How people talk Kairdiff
Come here - C'm year
Where's that? - Whea's that to?
Clark's pie - Claaaaak's pie
Alright - aw-righhh
How great/fabulous/attractive - How lush is that?
Mum - Merm
Father - fairtha
Half a lager or a pint of Dark? - hairf a lairga or a pint of Daaaark?

They need people who have lived in the Cardiff area all their lives and have parents who come from and have lived in the region.

Each person will be asked to read a set of words, sentences and paragraphs during a 30-minute session.

They are aiming to improve the efficiency of speech recognition software, which is becoming more widely used in devices such as mobile phones, in cars, over telephone networks and on personal computers.

However technicians have found the software does not allow for the different ways English is spoken and currently works best for people with standard southern English accents.

Lead investigator Professor Martin Russell said: "People adapt to new accents very quickly, but it is extraordinarily hard to make computers do the same.

"Not only is this type of data important for speech technology research, it also gives a valuable snapshot of the diversity of accents in the British Isles at the start of the 21st century."

The team will visit 17 places around Britain and Ireland as part of the project.

Anyone interested in taking part in the research can contact the team on 0800 0789114 or email info@thespeechark.com leaving a name and a contact telephone number.

Hear how the folk from Cardiff speak "Kairdiff"

Regional accents 'bad for trade'
29 Dec 05 |  England

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