A modern day Higgins – The Speech Accent Archive

A side effect of long Internet usage is the sudden recollection for no good reason of a website visited long, long ago.  Sometime in the early-2000s, the Speech Accent Archive at George Mason University made the news.  Prof. Steven Weinberger asked people all over the world to record a carefully constructed paragraph and to provide some demographic information.

The elicitation paragraph:
Please call Stella.  Ask her to bring these things with her from the store:  Six spoons of fresh snow peas, five thick slabs of blue cheese, and maybe a snack for her brother Bob.  We also need a small plastic snake and a big toy frog for the kids.  She can scoop these things into three red bags, and we will go meet her Wednesday at the train station.

The elicitation paragraph contains most of the consonants, vowels, and clusters of standard American English

The responses were analyzed and tabulated by GMU students in a linguistics class.  I don’t know why this came to mind but it did.   Fortunately, the trove still exists and continues to be maintained.  The Language/Speakers  list may be the easiest way to get started.   Have a look, have a listen, and contribute.

This guy was willing but didn’t follow the directions.

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