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Accent Map


This essay does not describe an existing computer program, just one that should exist. This essay is about a suggested student project in Java programming. This essay gives a rough overview of how it might work. I have no source, object, specifications, file layouts or anything else useful to implementing this project. Everything I have prepared to help you is right here.

This project outline is not like the artificial, tidy little problems you are spoon-fed in school, when all the facts you need are included, nothing extraneous is mentioned, the answer is fully specified, along with hints to nudge you toward a single expected canonical solution. This project is much more like the real world of messy problems where it is up to you to fully the define the end point, or a series of ever more difficult versions of this project and research the information yourself to solve them.

Everything I have to say to help you with this project is written below. I am not prepared to help you implement it; or give you any additional materials. I have too many other projects of my own.

Though I am a programmer by profession, I don’t do people’s homework for them. That just robs them of an education.

You have my full permission to implement this project in any way you please and to keep all the profits from your endeavour.

Please do not email me about this project without reading the disclaimer above.

This is a project for someone with an interest in accents and dialects. You display a map, perhaps of the USA, or Britain. The user clicks at a spot on the map, and he hears a paragraph from a typical speaker of that region. If he clicks again, he hears another sound byte. A box opens on the screen with some information about that accent, including its salient features. Instead of showing counties, the map shows accent regions. Ideally, each speaker says the same paragraph, the linguisic equivalent of the quick brown fox to sample most of the phonemes.

Collecting Data

You might get strangers out on the web to submit voice samples by email, or you might set up an app to collect them.

Getting Fancy

You might allow people to use a slider to select the date. The map would change as would the samples. You would have to consult professional linquists for the historical information. That way you could track the changes in the way people spoke in a given town from Roman times until now.

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