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Research Studentship/Fellowship on "THE ROLE OF FINE PHONETIC DETAIL IN NOISE"
PhD Research Studentship / Research Fellowship on
"THE ROLE OF FINE PHONETIC DETAIL IN NOISE"
University of Sheffield, UK, and Technical University of Cluj-Napoca,
Two positions are available for research on the role of fine phonetic
detail in noise, within the Marie Curie Research Training Network
"Sound to Sense" (S2S) (www.sound2sense.eu). S2S involves
collaborative speech research amongst 13 universities in 10
countries. The position at the University of Sheffield, UK, is a PhD
studentship with the Departments of Computer Science and Human
Communication Sciences. The position at the Technical University of
Cluj-Napoca, Romania, is a research fellowship, optionally including
enrollment for a PhD. Both positions are 36 months in duration and
are available immediately.
1) PhD research studentship on audio and visual cues to turn
competition in overlapping talk, University of Sheffield, UK
There have been proposals in the conversation analysis literature,
based on subjective listening, as to the various phonetic
modifications that occur in different types of overlapping talk (i.e.
when two or more people speak at the same time), including
modification of pitch, loudness and timing. Current work at Sheffield
University is developing techniques for objective measurement of
these phonetic modifications in corpora of multi- talker recordings
involving speakers varying in age, language and accent background.
Depending on the interests and experience of the applicant, the
proposed PhD studentship could develop this work in a number of
directions, such as:
* Integrating visual information about speaker behaviour into the
analysis, in order to understand the respective contributions of
audio and visual information to the management of turn-taking and
* Use of state-of-the-art motion tracking hardware to study the use
of head-related gestures during overlapping and non-overlapping speech.
* The study of cross-language effects, in order to determine the role
of language-specific cues in the management of overlap.
* Investigating the management of overlap in acoustic environments in
which background noise (such as speech babble) is present.
* Investigating the management of overlap in talk between adults and
* Investigating the management of overlap in talk involving speakers
with communication difficulties (e.g. stammering / dysfluency;
autistic spectrum disorders; developmental speech and language
The project will suit either a computer science graduate who is
interested in learning about CA and phonetics; or a linguistics/
speech sciences graduate who has experience of computer programming
and is interested in learning about speech technology. The student
will be based jointly at the Departments of Human Communication
Sciences (www.sheffield.ac.uk/hcs) and Computer Science
2) Research fellowship on the role of fine phonetic detail in noise,
Technical University of Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Why are listeners so much better than machines at recognising speech
in everyday conditions? One hypothesis, supported by recent
experiments, is that the speech signal contains fine phonetic detail
(FPD) which is not noticeable in quiet conditions, but which is
essential to decode speech in noise. What is not clear is which
aspects of FPD are responsible for increased intelligibility, but two
factors that may be implicated are grouping and glimpsing. Grouping
refers to the combination of parts of the signal based on evidence
that they have arisen from a common acoustic source (e.g.
harmonicity). Glimpsing is based on the observation that listeners
appear to identify speech based on partial "views" rather than
complete signals. The aim of the fellowship/studentship is to
determine how these factors might account for speech intelligibility
and for automatic speech recognition in noise.
This project will suit a computer science or engineering graduate,
who is interested in researching automatic speech recognition in
noisy conditions and to learn more about auditory processing and
The student will be based at the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca,
Romania (www.utcluj.ro). Enrollment into a PhD program will be
possible, and is encouraged. The university provides good technical
research facilities as well as very affordable accommodation in an
Applicants must have less than 4 years experience in postgraduate
research (i.e. you will have earned your academic qualifications for
graduate study less than 4 years before your S2S appointment starts).
The appointed persons will receive a standard EU stipend for the
country of work, together with allowances for relocation and language
lessons etc. Due to EU mobility requirements, you cannot be appointed
to the country of your citizenship or to a country where you have
lived for more than 12 of the last 36 months.
How to apply
Both appointments are available immediately and will remain open
until filled. Informal enquiries can be made to Dr. Guy Brown
(g.brown@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx) or Prof. Mircea Giurgiu
Your formal application should comprise: a curriculum vitae including
nationality and residence, 2 letters of reference, and statement of
interests. Submit it electronically, preferably in pdf format, to Dr.
Brown and Prof. Giurgiu, and also to the S2S Coordinator's assistant,
Miss Naomi Hilton
Phone: +44 (0)1223 760822
Fax: +44 (0)1223 335053