• Question: What do you mean by analyse the sounds? Do you study the persons accent and pronunciation? Or something totally different?

    Asked by dino123aoife to Damien on 18 Jun 2011.
    • Photo: Damien Hall

      Damien Hall answered on 18 Jun 2011:

      Hi dino123aoife –

      That’s a really good question! Yes, I mean the accent and pronunciation. You can study other things about language too – like the exact words you use (there’s been a lot of studying of words for say – whether you say “‘Hello’, he said”, or “‘Hello’, he went” or “He was like, ‘Hello'”), or the names you give things (whether you call a snack a snack, a snap, levensies, scran or whatever – but it’s accent and pronunciation that I am interested in.

      In Science or Physics, have you done anything about sound-waves? That’s what I study. Different vowels (ah eh ee oh you y etc) have different patterns in their sound-waves, and within that, different accents have different sound-waves for the same vowel (so the wave for a London oh will not look the same as the wave for a Geordie oh – think of the way they’re pronounced: some people think Geordies say oh like other people say errrr). It’s the same in any language, so I study French, which has the same kind of variation as English does. I put the vowels through a special computer program to analyse the sound-waves they show, and I make maps of my results, to show whether or not the French vowels differ from place to place.

      Does that help?