Empirical Speech and Language Processing

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Motivations for an interdisciplinary PhD program

The starting point is the increasing empirical foundation of theory and methodology in the four participating areas of study. On this basis, the already existing relations and connections can be deepened and expanded resulting in a possible benefit.

The following examples of interlinking the participating disciplines illustrate the synergistic effect PhD students profit from when choosing and dealing with their projects:

Interlinking the disciplines

  • As linguistic disciplines, Phonetics and Computer Linguistics inherently have a close connection; this applies in particular to the areas of technical speech processing, speech recognition, speech perception, speech production, and dialog systems.

  • Statistical procedures are of great importance for both Phonetics and Computer Linguistics. They form the basis for speech recognition and speech synthesis, for techniques of classification, clustering and annotation in the field of word processing as well as for further numerous applications of Computer Linguistics such as automatic translation, tagging, parsing, error correction, etc.

  • The basic research in Phonetics models procedures of articulation, perception, and cognition using statistical procedures.

  • Media Informatics apply many techniques of Phonetics and Computer Linguistics in the field of man-machine-interaction and media analysis.

  • The specific characteristics of human language -its dynamics and bridging function between physical and categorical speech system- challenge Statistics to develop new theories and methods.

  • The Internet as a media platform and as an independent medium provides opportunities for the collection, analysis and processing of data for Phonetics and Computer Linguistics; in the case of Media Informatics collaborative web-based work is of great interest.

  • The combination of Computer Linguistics and Statistics is a key function to the WWW, e.g. for search engines and the Semantic Web.