Issues in Designing a Corpus of Spoken Irish
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Issues in Designing a Corpus of Spoken Irish

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© Elaine Uí Dhonnchadha, Alessio Frenda, Brian Vaughan

© Elaine Uí Dhonnchadha, Alessio Frenda, Brian Vaughan

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  • Corpus Design Pilot Implementation 140,000 words Or 8.5 hours of speech … 106 transcripts Over 150 speakers

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  • 1. Issues in Designing a Corpusof Spoken IrishElaine Uí Dhonnchadha, Alessio Frenda, Brian VaughanCentre for Language and Communication StudiesTrinity College DublinIreland.
  • 2. Overview  Linguistic Background  Corpus Design  Pilot Corpus  Data Collection and Recording  Transcription  Corpus Processing  Future workLREC-2012: SALTMIL-AfLaT Workshop on “Language technology for normalisation of less-resourced langua 2
  • 3. Irish  Indo-European - Celtic language  Verb initial language (VSO)  Irish is the first official language of Ireland - English is the second official language.  Irish is spoken as a first language (L1) in only a small number of areas known as Gaeltachtaí.  Irish is learned at school as a second language by the majority of the population.LREC-2012: SALTMIL-AfLaT Workshop on “Language technology for normalisation of less-resourced langua 3
  • 4. Irish Speaking Regions Na Gaeltachtaí 1 2. Donegal 3. Mayo 2 4. Galway 7 3 5. Kerry 6. Cork 7. Waterford 4 8. Meath 6 5LREC-2012: SALTMIL-AfLaT Workshop on “Language technology for normalisation of less-resourced langua 4
  • 5. Irish  1.6 million of the 3.9 million population report proficiency in the spoken language.  The number of native speakers is 64 thousand  These sociolinguistic conditions mean that a comprehensive spoken corpus can play a vital role in promoting and preserving the spoken language.LREC-2012: SALTMIL-AfLaT Workshop on “Language technology for normalisation of less-resourced langua 5
  • 6. Motivation  Linguistic research  language change, language contact …  phonology, syntax,  semantics, pragmatics, discourse etc.  Lexicography (new Irish-English dictionary project due to start in 2013)  Teaching materials  Speech RecognitionLREC-2012: SALTMIL-AfLaT Workshop on “Language technology for normalisation of less-resourced langua 6
  • 7. Existing Resources  Spoken Language Collections  Caint Chonamara (1964) 1.2 mill. wds  Iorras Aithneach Irish (pub. 2007)  Doegen Records Web Project (1928-1931) (various dialects)  Other dialectal studies (without audio files)LREC-2012: SALTMIL-AfLaT Workshop on “Language technology for normalisation of less-resourced langua 7
  • 8. Motivation  Various difficulties …  one dialect, or one year  Different dialects but mainly songs, stories, monologues  Very little dialogue  Book and CD format (pdf)  Some phonetic transcriptions but not other linguistic annotation  Limited searchabilityLREC-2012: SALTMIL-AfLaT Workshop on “Language technology for normalisation of less-resourced langua 8
  • 9. Motivation  Need a spoken corpus which is:  Dialectally balanced  Diachronically balanced  Gender/age balanced  L1 and L2 speakers  Text aligned with audio/video file  Linguistically annotatedLREC-2012: SALTMIL-AfLaT Workshop on “Language technology for normalisation of less-resourced langua 9
  • 10. Corpus Design We examined the design of a number of corpora:  London-Lund Corpus of Spoken English  Lancaster/IBM Spoken English Corpus (SEC)  Corpus of Spoken New Zealand English  British National Corpus (BNC)  COREC (Corpus oral de referencia del Español Contemporáneo)  CLIPS (Corpora e Lessici dell’Italiano Parlato e Scritto)  ICE (The International Corpus of English)  CGN (Corpus Gesproken Nederlands)LREC-2012: SALTMIL-AfLaT Workshop on “Language technology for normalisation of less-resourced langua 10
  • 11. Corpus Design  One common feature shared by the more recent corpora surveyed here is the extent of naturalistic conversational material they include.  Our design is heavily influenced by ICE and CGNLREC-2012: SALTMIL-AfLaT Workshop on “Language technology for normalisation of less-resourced langua 11
  • 12. Corpus Design Dialogues Private (250, 42%) [r] Face-to-face conversations (120, 20%) (420, 70%) [r] Phone calls (50, 8.5%) [r] Video calls (50, 8.5%) [r] Interviews with teachers of Irish (30, 5%) Public (170, 28%) [r] Classroom Lessons (40, 7%) Broadcast Discussions (40, 7%) Broadcast Interviews (40, 7%) Parliamentary Debates (20, 3%) [r] Legal cross-examinations (10, 1.5%) [r] Business Transactions (20, 3%) Monologues Unscripted (90, 15%) Spontaneous Commentaries (40, 7%) (180, 30%) Unscripted Speeches (20, 3%) Demonstrations (20, 3%) [r] Legal Presentations (10, 1.5%) Scripted (90, 15%) Broadcast News (40, 7%) Broadcast Talks (40, 7%) Non-broadcast Talks (10, 1%)LREC-2012: SALTMIL-AfLaT Workshop on “Language technology for normalisation of less-resourced langua 12
  • 13. Corpus Design  Our design considers the following variables:  Time frame  Dialectal variation  Sociolinguistic variation  Gender and age  Context and subject matterLREC-2012: SALTMIL-AfLaT Workshop on “Language technology for normalisation of less-resourced langua 13
  • 14. Time Frame  We have decided upon the three time periods  P1: 1930-1971  P2: 1972-1995  P3: 1996-presentLREC-2012: SALTMIL-AfLaT Workshop on “Language technology for normalisation of less-resourced langua 14
  • 15. Dialectal Variation  We aim to cover the main dialects of Irish in equal measure  i.e. not proportionally to the number of speakers of each dialect (which may have varied over the years)  Ulster (north)  Connaught (west)  Munster (south)LREC-2012: SALTMIL-AfLaT Workshop on “Language technology for normalisation of less-resourced langua 15
  • 16. Sociolinguistic Variation  We aim to include Irish speakers from all linguistic backgrounds  ‘Traditional’ native speakers (L1)  Non-native speakers (L2)  ‘Non-traditional’ native speakers (L1),  i.e. those who were raised through Irish by L1 or L2 parents, typically in a non- Gaeltacht settingLREC-2012: SALTMIL-AfLaT Workshop on “Language technology for normalisation of less-resourced langua 16
  • 17. Gender and Age Variation  We aim to represent both males and females proportionally  We aim to represent different generations i.e. young adults, middle aged and elderly speakersLREC-2012: SALTMIL-AfLaT Workshop on “Language technology for normalisation of less-resourced langua 17
  • 18. Content Variation  We aim to record conversations in a variety of contexts (informal, work, leisure, education etc.) and cover a variety of topics.  Overall we aim for a spoken corpus of 2 million words approx.LREC-2012: SALTMIL-AfLaT Workshop on “Language technology for normalisation of less-resourced langua 18
  • 19. Pilot Corpus - GaLa
  • 20. Pilot Corpus  Funded by Foras na Gaeilge  P3: 1996-present (contemporary)  Dialogues  Mainly public broadcast dialogues (mp3 podcasts of radio interviews and discussions).  We also carried out a small amount of video recording of private dialogue conversations.LREC-2012: SALTMIL-AfLaT Workshop on “Language technology for normalisation of less-resourced langua 20
  • 21. Data Collection  Four pairs of volunteers agreed to be video recorded in informal conversation in the Speech Communications Laboratory, TCD  Video recorded using a Sony HDR-XR500v High Definition Handycam.  The audio was recorded in two ways:  using the onboard camera microphone and  using two Sennheiser MKH-60 shotgun microphones and an Edirol 4-channel HD Audio recorder.LREC-2012: SALTMIL-AfLaT Workshop on “Language technology for normalisation of less-resourced langua 21
  • 22. Data Collection  Audio was recorded at a sampling rate of 96KhZ with a bit rate of 24 bits.  Bounced down a sampling rate of 44.1KhZ with a bit rate of 16bits (the Redbook audio standard), with the higher 96KhZ files being used for archiving.LREC-2012: SALTMIL-AfLaT Workshop on “Language technology for normalisation of less-resourced langua 22
  • 23. Podcast Extracts  70 x 8 min. audio extracts were transcribed giving 102,000 words of transcribed speech (8.5 hours approx.).  We also aligned and formatted some existing transcripts, Frenda (2011) material transcribed for PhD research TCD (20K);  Wigger (2000) Caint Chonamara (10K);  Dillon, G. material transcribed for PhD research TCD (5K).  overall total 140,000 words (approx.) 106 transcripts, 151 speakersLREC-2012: SALTMIL-AfLaT Workshop on “Language technology for normalisation of less-resourced langua 23
  • 24. Transcription  Spoken and written language differ in a number of important respects.  The syntactic structure of spontaneous spoken utterances is usually simpler  Spontaneous speech: repetitions, false starts, hesitations or non-verbal communication such as a gesture or the tone of voice.  Dialectal pronunciations deviate substantially from standard orthographical representationsLREC-2012: SALTMIL-AfLaT Workshop on “Language technology for normalisation of less-resourced langua 24
  • 25. Transcription Guidelines  Phonetic or Orthographic transcription  We examined a number of transcription conventions already in use including  CHAT: The CHAT (Codes for the Human Analysis of Transcripts) System is a comprehensive standard for transcribing and encoding the characteristics of spoken language (MacWhinney, 2000).  LINDSEI: Louvain International Database of Spoken English Interlanguage Transcription guidelines http://www.uclouvain.be/en-307849.html  LDC: Linguistic Data Consortium http://www.ldc.upenn.edu /Creating/creating_annotated.LREC-2012: SALTMIL-AfLaT Workshop on “Language technology for normalisation of less-resourced langua 25
  • 26. CHAT Guidelines  The CHAT (Codes for the Human Analysis of Transcripts) (MacWhinney, 2000).  These guidelines were developed for the transcription of spoken interactions between children and their carers in order to study child language acquisition.  Inaudible segments, phonetic fragments, repetitions, overlaps, interruptions, trailing off, foreign words, proper nouns and numbers etc.LREC-2012: SALTMIL-AfLaT Workshop on “Language technology for normalisation of less-resourced langua 26
  • 27. CHAT Guidelines  the guidelines are very comprehensive but there are a few drawbacks to implementing the guidelines in full  it can slow down the transcription process considerably  some are quite subjective (short, medium and long pauses)  while others are difficult to implement (retracings and reformulations)LREC-2012: SALTMIL-AfLaT Workshop on “Language technology for normalisation of less-resourced langua 27
  • 28. LDC Transcription Guidelines  LDC guidelines advocate simplicity  Keep the rules to a minimum in order to make transcription as easy as possible for the transcriber, which increases transcription speed, accuracy and consistency  In addition automatic procedures are used when possibleLREC-2012: SALTMIL-AfLaT Workshop on “Language technology for normalisation of less-resourced langua 28
  • 29. Transcription  On average 30 minutes to orthographically transcribe 1 minute of audio material.  Transcription process must be as straightforward and intuitive as possible.  Minimum number of codes and keystrokes  [repeated material],  xxx, < … > [?],  [% comment], @laugh etc., @eng,  filled pauses {yeah, ehm, uh..}LREC-2012: SALTMIL-AfLaT Workshop on “Language technology for normalisation of less-resourced langua 29
  • 30. Transcription  Dialectal variation  maith ‘good’ /mah/ or /maɪ/  an-mhaith ‘very good’ /ənəwa/ or /ənəwaɪ/ or /ənəva/  Initial mutations  ag déanamh ‘doing’ /ə d´ianəv/ or /ə ʤanu/ (not a’ déanamh)  standard orthographyLREC-2012: SALTMIL-AfLaT Workshop on “Language technology for normalisation of less-resourced langua 30
  • 31. Transcription Guidelines  Advantages to using standard orthography:  It makes the job of transcription easier and quicker for transcribers  It helps mimimise spelling inconsistencies among transcribers as only standard spelling is used, apart from predefined lists permitted exceptions  Attempting to represent actual pronunciation in orthography is difficult and prone to inconsistency. It can be more accurately captured in a separate phonetic transcription layer (which may be partially generated from the orthography).LREC-2012: SALTMIL-AfLaT Workshop on “Language technology for normalisation of less-resourced langua 31
  • 32. Transcription Guidelines  Standard orthography facilitates corpus querying and lexical searches  Standard orthography facilitates automatic text processing, such as part-of-speech tagging and parsing  Transcription codes for some linguistic features (e.g. co-articulation effects, elision etc.) would require specialist training for transcribers, in order to ensure accuracy and consistency, and are better undertaken as a separate task.LREC-2012: SALTMIL-AfLaT Workshop on “Language technology for normalisation of less-resourced langua 32
  • 33. Transcription Software  We tested several pieces of freely- available transcription and annotation software (e.g. Praat, ELAN, Anvil, CLAN, Xtrans, Transcriber)  We chose Transcriber http://trans.sourceforge.net  It has a straightforward user interface  It facilitates alignment of the audio and text transcription in XML format  Audio duration and word count information at a glance  Transcripts can be conveniently exported as textLREC-2012: SALTMIL-AfLaT Workshop on “Language technology for normalisation of less-resourced langua 33
  • 34. Transcription Software  It handles a variety of audio file types, including .wav, .mp3 (podcasts) and .ogg  The later version of the software, TranscriberAG, can handle video as well as audio  It facilitates the annotation of various features of spontaneous speech (overlap, interruptions, coughs, laughs, etc.) as well as linguistics categories (e.g. proper nouns, human/animate etc. etc.) if desired  It can be used with foot pedals for increased speed if necessaryLREC-2012: SALTMIL-AfLaT Workshop on “Language technology for normalisation of less-resourced langua 34
  • 35. Transcribers  Audio segments of 8 min. in duration broadcast discussions and interviews Raidio na Gaeltachta podcasts.  Panel of 22 transcribers recruited  Workpackages were sent via e-mail to members of the panel who worked from home. (filenames, speaker ids)  They returned a time-aligned transcription and timesheet for each workpackage completed.LREC-2012: SALTMIL-AfLaT Workshop on “Language technology for normalisation of less-resourced langua 35
  • 36. Transcription Checking  Each transcript was checked for accuracy against the audio file by a member of the project team.  In the case of new video-recordings, the transcripts were also anonymised, i.e. names and places which could identify the participants were replaced by fictitious names to ensure anonynity.LREC-2012: SALTMIL-AfLaT Workshop on “Language technology for normalisation of less-resourced langua 36
  • 37. Corpus Processing  Corpus Metadata  XCES Corpus Encoding Standard  Part-of-Speech Tagging  SketchEngine Corpus Query ToolLREC-2012: SALTMIL-AfLaT Workshop on “Language technology for normalisation of less-resourced langua 37
  • 38. Corpus Metadata  All relevant details related to speakers, transcripts and transcribers are recorded in a database.  Each speaker is given a speaker code which is used in the transcript in place of the speaker’s name, in order to make speakers less recognisable.  Speaker attributes such as  dialect,  language acquisition type, (L1-G L1-NG L2)  gender and age, etc  are recorded where known.LREC-2012: SALTMIL-AfLaT Workshop on “Language technology for normalisation of less-resourced langua 38
  • 39. Corpus Metadata  Corpus database is used to generate XML corpus headers, and to facilitate onging monitoring of word counts of the various corpus design categories.LREC-2012: SALTMIL-AfLaT Workshop on “Language technology for normalisation of less-resourced langua 39
  • 40. XCES – XML Corpus Encoding Std.  For each transcript, the output of the Transcriber software was transformed into TEI compliant XCES (XML Corpus Encoding Standard) format using a Perl script and data from the corpus database.LREC-2012: SALTMIL-AfLaT Workshop on “Language technology for normalisation of less-resourced langua 40
  • 41. Speech Turns  All of the transcripts to date involve conversations between at least two participants (dialogues).  It is quite common, particularly in radio interviews, for spoken interactions to take place between speakers with different dialects or between native and non-native speakers.LREC-2012: SALTMIL-AfLaT Workshop on “Language technology for normalisation of less-resourced langua 41
  • 42. Speech Turns  In order to create sub-corpora on the basis of dialect, native/non-native status, speaker, age, gender etc. then these features must be recorded at the level of speaker-turn rather than for the transcript as a whole.LREC-2012: SALTMIL-AfLaT Workshop on “Language technology for normalisation of less-resourced langua 42
  • 43. XML - XCES  <doc id = "irbs0012" title = "Barrscéalta 08 October 2010" period = "1996-pres" medium = "broadcast- radio"spokentype = "interview" text_source = "GALA- TCD" av_source = "RnaG podcast">  <speaker_turn id = "200" code = "RNG_ANC" dialect = "Ulaidh" gender = "Bain" actype = "L1 Gaeltacht" year = "2010">  caidé méid airgid a chosnódh sé na bádaí seo a thabhairt suas chun dáta agus cloígh lena rialacha úra atá tagtha isteach?  </speaker_turn>  <speaker_turn id = "559" code = "RNG_LCI" dialect = "Mumhan" gender = "Fir" actype = "L1 Gaeltacht?" year = "2010" >  Bhuel ehm braitheann sé sin ar chaighdeán an bháid, abair, agus níl aon dabht faoi ach go bhfuil sé costasach, abair, [tá tá] tá tuairiscí …LREC-2012: SALTMIL-AfLaT Workshop on “Language technology for normalisation of less-resourced langua 43
  • 44. Part-of-Speech Tagging  All transcripts are lemmatised and POS tagged  Using finite-state tools (xfst/foma) and Constraint Grammar (VISL cg3)LREC-2012: SALTMIL-AfLaT Workshop on “Language technology for normalisation of less-resourced langua 44
  • 45. SketchEngine  All POS tagged transcripts are converted to vertical format and loaded in to the SketchEngine Corpus Query systemLREC-2012: SALTMIL-AfLaT Workshop on “Language technology for normalisation of less-resourced langua 45
  • 46. Future Work  Extensive Data Collection is required  Archives need to be examined for suitable material (diachronic corpus)  Quality control procedures for transcription standards need to be formalised  Testing and enhancement of POS tagging tools for spoken languageLREC-2012: SALTMIL-AfLaT Workshop on “Language technology for normalisation of less-resourced langua 46
  • 47. Websites  GaLa TCD Website https://www.scss.tcd.ie/SLP/gala/index.utf8.html  GaLa in the SketchEngine http://the.sketchengine.co.uk/LREC-2012: SALTMIL-AfLaT Workshop on “Language technology for normalisation of less-resourced langua 47
  • 48. Go raibh maith agat! Thank you!