Sharing innovative methods, data and knowledge across sociophonetics and forensic speech science

Vincent Hughes 1  and Jessica Wormald 2
  • 1 University of York, Language and Linguistic Science, Heslington, York, Ireland
  • 2 J P French Associates, York, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Vincent Hughes and Jessica Wormald

Abstract

Forensic speech science is the application of speech analysis methods to forensic recordings; in many jurisdictions this is predominantly the application of sociophonetics. Sociophonetics and forensic speech science have developed as independent research areas with their own aims, methodologies and identities, and the gap between the fields has arguably grown bigger in recent years. Yet, there is much to be gained for both fields from closer collaboration through sharing methods, data, and knowledge. We will argue that this is more important now given the increasing demands on forensic science to more rigorously and empirically test and validate methods, and current trends in sociophonetics towards understanding how different linguistic variables are used by speakers to enact different identities in different situations. In this paper, we review the relationship between sociophonetics and forensic speech science. We also outline how developments in both fields can, and do, directly contribute to improving the quality of forensic voice evidence, as well as informing theoretical and practical aspects of sociophonetics.

  • Alzqhoul, Esam, Balamurali Nair & Bernard Guillemin. 2015. Impact of dynamic rate coding aspects of mobile phone networks on forensic voice comparison. Science and Justice 55(5). 363–374.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Boyd, Zac, Zuzana Elliott, Josef Fruehwald, Lauren Hall-Lew & Daniel Lawrence. 2015. An evaluation of sociolinguistic elicitation methods. In Proceedings of the 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences. Glasgow, 10–14 August.

  • Brown, Georgina & Jessica Wormald. 2017. Automatic sociophonetics: Exploring corpora with a forensic accent recognition system. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 142(1). 422–433.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Buchstaller, Isabelle & Ghada Khattab. 2013. Population samples. In Robert Podesva & Devyani Sharma (eds.), Research methods in linguistics, 74–95. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Cheshire, Jenny, Sue Fox, Paul Kerswill & Eivind Torgersen. 2008. Ethnicity, friendship network and social practices as the motor of dialect change: Linguistic innovation in London. Sociolinguistica 22. 1–23.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Decker, Paul de & Jennifer Nycz. 2011. For the record: Which digital media can be used for sociophonetic analysis? University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics 17(2). 51–59.

  • Eckert, Penelope. 2000. Linguistic variation as social practice. Oxford: Blackwell.

  • Eckert, Penelope. 2012. Three waves of variation study: The emergence of meaning in the study of sociolinguistic variation. Annual Review of Anthropology 14. 87–100.

  • Ellis, Stanley. 1994. The Yorkshire Ripper enquiry: Part I. International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law 1(2). 197–206.

  • Feagin, Crawford. 2013. Entering the community: Fieldwork. In Jack Chambers & Natalie Schilling (eds.) The handbook of language variation and change,19–37. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

  • Foulkes, Paul & Gerard Docherty. 1999a. Urban voices: Accent studies in the British Isles. London: Arnold.

  • Foulkes, Paul & Gerard Docherty. 1999b. Urban voices – overview. In Paul Foulkes & Gerard Docherty (eds.), Urban voices: Accent studies in the British Isles, 1–24. London: Arnold.

  • Foulkes, Paul, James Scobbie & Dominic Watt. 2010. Sociophonetics. In William J. Hardcastle, John Laver & Fiona E. Gibbon (eds.) Handbook of phonetic sciences (2ndedn.), 703–754. Oxford: Blackwell.

  • Foulkes, Paul & Peter French. 2012. Forensic speaker comparison: The linguistic-acoustic perspective. In Lawrence Solan & Peter Tiersma (eds.), Oxford handbook of language and law, 557–572. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Foulkes, Paul, Gerard Docherty, Stefanie Shattuck Hufnagel & Vincent Hughes. 2018. Three steps towards predictability: Considerations of methodological robustness, indexical and prosodic factors, and replication in the laboratory. Linguistics Vanguard 4(2). DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/lingvan-2017-0032.

  • Franco-Pedroso, Javier & Joaquin Gonzalez-Rodriguez. 2016. Linguistically-constrained formant-based i-vectors for automatic speaker recognition. Speech Communication 76. 61–81.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • French, Peter. 2017. A developmental history of forensic speaker comparison in the UK. English Phonetics 21. 271–286.

  • French, Peter, Francis Nolan, Paul Foulkes, Philip Harrison & Kirsty McDougall. 2010. The UK position statement on forensic speaker comparison: a rejoinder to Rose and Morrison. International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law 17(1). 138–163.

  • French, Peter & Louisa Stevens. 2013. Forensic speech science. In Mark Jones & Rachael Knight (eds.), Bloomsbury companion to phonetics, 183–197. London: Bloomsbury.

  • Fromont, Robert & Jennifer Hay. 2012. LaBB-CAT: An annotation store. In Proceedings of Australasian Language Technology Association Workshop, 113–117. Otago University, 4–6 December.

  • Gold, Erica & Peter French. 2011. International practices in forensic speaker comparison. International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law 18(2). 293–307.

  • Gold, Erica, Sula Ross & Katherine Earnshaw. 2018. ‘The West Yorkshire Regional English Database’: Investigations into the generalisability of reference populations for forensic speaker comparison casework. In Proceedings of Interspeech, 2748–2752. Hyderabad, 2–6 September.

  • González-Rodríguez, Joaquín, Juana Gil, Rubén Pérez & Javier Franco-Pedroso. 2014. What are we missing with i-vectors? A perceptual analysis of i-vector-based falsely accepted trials. In Proceedings of Odyssey: The speaker and language recognition workshop, 33–40. Joensuu, 16–19 June.

  • Harrison, Philip. 2013. Making accurate formant measurements: An empirical investigation of the influence of the measurement tool, analysis settings and speaker on formant measurements. York: University of York, PhD Thesis.

  • Hughes, Arthur, Peter Trudgill & Dominic Watt. 2012. English accents and dialects: An introduction to social and regional varieties of English in the British Isles (5thedn.). London: Hodder Arnold.

  • Hughes, Vincent & Paul Foulkes. 2016. Speaker- and group-specific information in formant dynamics: A forensic perspective. Paper presented at LabPhon 15 Satellite Workshop: Speech dynamics, social meaning and phonological categories. Cornell University, 13–16 July.

  • Hughes, Vincent, Philip Harrison, Paul Foulkes, Peter French, Colleen Kavanagh & Eugenia San Segundo. 2017. Mapping across feature spaces in forensic voice comparison: The contribution of auditory-based voice quality to (semi-)automatic system testing. In Proceedings of Interspeech, 3892–3896. Stockholm University, 20–24 August.

  • Hughes, Vincent & Jessica Wormald. 2017. WikiDialects: A resource for assessing typicality in forensic voice comparison. Paper presented at the International Association of Forensic Phonetics and Acoustics Conference. Split, 9–12 July.

  • Hughes, Vincent, Philip Harrison, Paul Foulkes, Peter French, Colleen Kavanagh & Eugenia San Segundo. 2018. The individual and the system: Assessing the stability of the output of a semi-automatic forensic voice comparison system. In Proceedings of Interspeech, 227–231. Hyderabad, 2–6 September.

  • Kendall, Tyler. 2007. Enhancing sociolinguistic data collections: The North Carolina sociolinguistic archive and analysis project. Penn Working Papers in Linguistics 13( 2). 15–26.

  • Kendall, Tyler. 2008. On the history and future of sociolinguistic data. Language and Linguistics Compass 2(2). 332–351.

  • Künzel, Herman. 2001. Beware of the ‘telephone effect’: The influence of telephone transmission on the measurement of formant frequencies. Forensic Linguistics 8(1). 80–99.

  • Labov, William, Sharon Ash & Charles Boberg. 2006. Atlas of North American English: Phonology and phonetics. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

  • Loakes, Deborah. 2006. A forensic phonetic investigation into the speech patterns of identical and non-identical twins. Melbourne: University of Melbourne, PhD Thesis.

  • Mielke, Jeff, Morgan Sonderegger & Jane Stuart-Smith. 2017. SPeech Across Dialects Of English (SPADE): Large-scale digital analysis of a spoken language across space and time. https://diggingintodata.org/awards/2016/project/speech-across-dialects-english-spade-large-scale-digital-analysis-spoken (15 February, 2019).

  • Morrison, Geoffrey, Farhan Hyder Sahito, Gaëlle Jardine, Djordje Djokic, Sophie Clavet, Sabine Berghs & Caroline Goemans Dorny. 2016. INTERPOL survey of the use of speaker identification by law enforcement agencies. Forensic Science International 263. 92–100.

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Export Citation
  • Nolan, Francis, Kirsty McDougall, Gea de Jong & Toby Hudson. 2009. The DyViS database: Style-controlled recordings of 100 homogeneous speakers for forensic phonetic research. International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law 16(1). 31–57.

  • Podesva, Robert. 2007. Phonation type as a stylistic variable: The use of falsetto in constructing a persona. Journal of Sociolinguistics 11(4). 478–504.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Rathcke, Tamara, Jane Stuart-Smith, Bernard Torsney & Jonathan Harrington. 2016. The beauty in a beast: Minimising the effects of diverse recording quality on vowel formant measurements in sociophonetic real-time studies. Speech Communication 86. 24–41.

  • Rhodes, Richard. 2012. Assessing the strength of non-contemporaneous forensic speech evidence. York: University of York, PhD Thesis.

  • Roberts, Lisa. 2012. A forensic phonetic study of the vocal responses of individuals in distress. York: University of York, PhD Thesis.

  • Ross, Sula, Peter French & Paul Foulkes. 2016. UK practitioners’ estimations of the distribution of speech variants. Paper presented at the International Association of Forensic Phonetics and Acoustics Conference. University of York, 24–27 July.

  • Saks, Michael & Jonathan Koehler. 2005. The coming paradigm shift in forensic identification science. Science 309. 892–895.

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Export Citation
  • Sankoff, Gillian. 2004. Adolescents, young adults and the critical period: Two case studies from ‘Seven Up’. In Ronald Macaulay & Carmen Fought (eds.), Sociolinguistic variation: Critical reflections, 121–140. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Sharma, Devyani. 2011. Style repertoire and social change in British Asian English. Journal of Sociolinguistics 15(4). 464–493.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Wells, John. 1982. Accents of English (3 volumes). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Purchase article
Get instant unlimited access to the article.
$42.00
Log in
Already have access? Please log in.


or
Log in with your institution

Journal + Issues

Linguistics Vanguard is a new channel for high-quality articles in all major fields of linguistics. Published solely online, the multimodal journal provides an accessible platform supporting both traditional contributions as well as innovative publications featuring interactive content. Linguistics Vanguard publishes concise and up-to-date reports on the state of the art in linguistics as well as cutting-edge research papers.

Search