I've already mentioned the new transcript
system and segment editor. There's actually one more big thing that we're adding to that. The waveform is new to most users, though we've had it implemented for site admins for some time now. However the new version is much less demanding on the server or users' download times.
But in addition to the waveform we're adding something else, seen here in red:
While not present on all entries, many will start to get pitch contours added to the display. Does this help the transcription? No not really. Does it do anything for the average user? Probably not, unless they're uncertain of what tone is being produced and this somehow clears it up for them. So why do it?
One of the big things we set out to be from the very beginning was an openly accesisble source for data on Sinotibetan dialects. It was our hope that this would eventually become a resource for academics who are working to better document the language family. Over the past few years that we've developed the system, that has never changed. The goal will always be to increase the quality and amount of data available for analysis.
One big area of analysis in Sinotibetan is tones. There's a lot of good work that's been done in the past, and a lot of serious data gathering and analysis that is still ongoing today. By including tonal contours in the data on Phonemica, we're hoping it can be one more reason way to quickly communicate the data to researchers without them having to go through the extra steps to display the contours themselves.
Of course, they could. Anyone could open up the audio in Praat and quickly get a contour. For the point of analysis where frequencies are being analyses, that will still probably be the way to go. But for the inital inspection, presenting the data in a quickly visible way may prove useful for some people.
There are other reasons to include it as well, such as simply wanting to develop better tools for documentation. I'll get into that in a little more detail in a later post.
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