Workshop on Praat with applications for research and teaching

  Eric W. Willis, Ph.D.
  Department of Spanish and Portuguese
  Indiana University

Praat is a powerful tool for acoustic analysis.  We will assume some familiarity with Praat such as opening files, editing files, extracting small portions of sound, and saving sound files in a wav format. (Refresher materials will be provided prior to the workshop).

The remainder of our time will be spent on the topics below:

  • Creating textgrids.   Textgrids are annotations attached to a sound file that can be used to automate the extraction of data and insertion of text including phonetic symbols.
  • File segmentation. Automatic extraction of target files from a large file.
  • Extracting text from textgrids.  A transcription of a sound file can be effective using Praat for the transcription and then extracting the text into a single file.
  • Logging.  Logging is a quick automated analysis of specified features with a single button.  These buttons can be programmed for specific functions similar to “hot keys” in Word.
  • Tonal modification.  The intonation contour of a sound file can easily be modified in order to examine a wide variety of topics.  With a simple modification a question can be converted into a statement.

Additionally, we will also look at a few specific segments and how to measure them. Segments will include the stops and VOT, formant frequencies of vowels, taps and trills and laterals.

We will include a 20 minute discussion of the steps involved in carrying out an acoustic study with Praat based on a current project on native English speakers producing Spanish laterals.

We will conclude with a discussion of how Praat can be used in the classroom at the undergraduate level for exemplifying Spanish sounds and contrasts with English.