Native Languages of the Southwest at UT Arlington
From the 2012 Oklahoma Breath of Life Workshop; the Alabama group, with UT Arlington Linguistics &Student Lori McLain Pierce

Department of Linguistics & TESOL | The University of Texas at Arlington

CoLang 2014: Institute on Collaborative Language Research





Location: Preston Hall 100
Week 1: Tuesday, June 17-Friday, June 20
Period 2: 10:15-11:45 am

Location: Business Building 140
Week 2: Tuesday, June 24-Friday, June 27
Period 2: 10:15-11:45 am

Transcription is the representation of the continuous sound stream of a language variety in discrete phonetic symbols. This process is vital for research on language in general, and for language documentation and revitalization in particular. Transcription of a language’s sound systems involves segmentation and discretization of the sound stream, and identification and representation of the discrete native sounds of a language using phonetic symbols, followed by an iterative and collaborative process of agreement on final transcriptions.

This workshop will expose participants to both segmental and prosodic transcription systems. Segmental transcription, the process of transcribing consonants and vowels, will use the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), which allows the full range of currently recognized consonants and vowels found cross-linguistically to be represented with universal phonetic symbols. Strengths and weaknesses of the system will be discussed.

Prosodic transcription includes the discretization and symbolization of syllable, foot, word and phrase level rhythmic properties of languages. The ToBI (Tones and Break Indices) framework for transcribing the intonation and prosodic structure of spoken utterances in a language variety will be introduced, and participants will be exposed to the typology of different prosodic systems found in the world’s languages. Unlike the IPA, there is not one universal prosodic transcription system - there are many different ToBI systems, each one specific to a language variety and the community of researchers working on that language variety.

Each session of the workshop includes intensive practice in segmental or prosodic transcription, and collaborative agreement on final transcriptions. In exploring appropriate transcription systems for particular projects, the choice will take into consideration the goal of the project (Is the purpose of transcription to create authentic teaching materials? To analyze sound systems? Or interaction?), and the attitudes of the community (What are the views of the community? Of academics?)

Related Links:

The International Phonetic Association:

The ToBI Prosodic Transcription Framework:

The Sounds of N|uu:

Jun, Sun-Ah (2007). "Prosodic Typology". In Jun, Sun-Ah, Ed.
Prosodic Typology: The Phonology of Intonation and Phrasing

Illustrations of the IPA (Example papers):

Standard Turkish (Karl zimmer and Orhan Orgun, from the Handbook of the IPA)

Luanyjang Dinka (Remijsen and Manyang, 2009), JIPA 2009, 39/1, 113-124

Chistabino (Pyrenean Aragonese) (Mott (2007), JIPA 37, pp 103-114

Zurich German (Fleischer and Schmid (2006), JIPA 36/2, pp. 243-253


Amanda Miller - Click here to view her biography.