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The Phonetic Analysis of Speech Corpora

Author: Jonathan Harrington

Publisher: Blackwell Publishing.


Provisional contents

  1. Setting up a speech database
  2. Annotating and querying speech databases
  3. The basics of R
  4. Vowels, place of articulation, and formants (PDF, DOC)
  5. Spectral analysis of stops, fricatives, and nasals (PDF, DOC)
  6. Pitch analysis
  7. Probabilistic classification
  8. Electropalatography (PDF, DOC)
  9. Some speech movement patterns

This is a draft of parts of a book that I am currently writing. The main purpose of the book is to provide an introduction to the quantitative analysis of speech data. It is intended for those who have gained some experience of auditory and acoustic phonetics and who want to apply this knowledge to different kinds of speech corpora. A parallel aim is to provide the reader with a combination of skills in acoustic phonetics, speech signal processing, computer programming that can be applied to a wide range of experiments in the speech sciences. The book is intended to have a strong workbook approach: there is an extensive range of exercises and answers to develop the skills that are needed in designing and carrying out experimental analyses in speech research. All of the examples and exercises are carried out in the R programming language and environment that is developed under the GNU license agreement.

The chapters are written so that the reader can enter the commands to the R programming language/environment. If you like to duplicate the commands and to make use of the fragments of speech corpora in the chapters and exercises, please download the recommended pieces of software that is listed below.

I would be grateful for any comments: Jonathan Harrington


Recommended Software

mandatory software to duplicate the commands in the chapters:

preferably version 2.2.1 but at least version 2.0.1.
The EMU Speech Database System (at

version 1.10.5 - mandatory for a successful installation of the EMU-R package only

For MAC users a special Emu-Mac release is provided at sourceforge.

The EMU-R package (at
version 2.3

additional, optional downloads:

not necessary for running the commands in the chapters, but if you want to listen, query (EMU Speech Database System mandatory), or analyse the speech data  in any way directly


For details about the installation of the EMU-R package, please visit the EMU Speech Database System homepage and for databases see the notes next to the download version at If you have any difficulty downloading or installing or duplicating the commands in the chapter(s), please contact me (Jonathan Harrington) or Tina John or Nils Ülzmann.




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