Faculty of Health Sciences key site for collection of the 'Aussie' accent

28 January 2011

The University of Sydney's Faculty of Health Sciences is one of four Sydney-based 'AusTalk' recording sites which will facilitate the country-wide collection and preservation of the accent of 1000 Australian English speakers.

Launched on Australia Day, AusTalk is a national initiative that will result in the development of an audio-visual database to provide a valuable and enduring digital repository of present day speech as a snapshot of this important time in our linguistic history.

"There has not been a collection of Australian English voices of this magnitude for 50 years and there has never before been a large scale collection of audio and visual speech data in Australia," says project co-ordinator Dr Dominique Estival of the University of Western Sydney.

Under the initiative Australian English accents will be collected from adults of all ages in various locations across all states and territories so to accurately represent the regional and social diversity of Australian English.

Speech and stuttering experts, Dr Joanne Arciuli and Professor Mark Onslow from the University of Sydney will head up the recording site at the University's Cumberland Campus at Lidcombe.

Dr Arciuli says that as well as providing a permanent record of Australia English, the data obtained from the project will support numerous endeavours across academic fields.

"It will be invaluable to Australia in a number of different areas including speech pathology, forensic investigations and commercial speech recognition applications. The data will also allow us to compare our distinctive ways of speaking with people from other English-speaking nations."

Funded under the Australian Research Council's Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities scheme, AusTalk is a collaboration of 11 major Australian universities and is led by the University of Western Sydney and Macquarie.

If you are over 18 years of age, you were born in Australia and/or you have completed all your schooling (from kindergarten through to high school) in Australia, you could be part of the national collection of Australian English accents.

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