Online Forced Aligner
The online Forced Aligner is a resource intended to assist linguistics research by providing an easy way to align English voice recordings with scripts and/or word lists. In addition, the online Forced Aligner provides easy way to visualize the basic phonetic data from these recordings as well as a facility for downloading this data as a starting point for more in depth observations. Output from the program takes the form of a Praat TextGrid file in the case of aligned data, and, in the case of downloadable phonetic data, a CSV (comma separated value) file that should be readable by any common spreadsheet application.
The online Forced aligner is based on the Penn Phonetics Lab Forced Aligner for English, which conducts the actual phonetic alignment. The purpose of the online Forced Aligner was to develop an easier to use, more streamlined, and more accessible way to use what is already a powerful piece of software. Penn Phonetics Lab Forced Aligner is only runnable from a command line interface, which can make it difficult to use for those who might not have experience running software in such a way. The online Forced Aligner adds a visual, web-based interface on top of the Penn Phonetics Lab Forced Aligner, which allows it to be run from any computer at any time, as well as integrating several processes, such as creating a CSV file, which should make it easier to begin working with the data that is output from the phonetic alignment operation.
The Online Forced aligner is based on the Penn Phonetics Lab Forced Aligner for English, which is itself based on the HTK toolkit developed by Cambridge University Engineering Department. Open source software Praat is also used in the alignment process and generation of downloadable data. Integration of this software as well as development of the online interface was completed by Gersh Pevnick as an undergraduate research project at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM), under the supervision of Hanyong Park, Associate Professor at UWM and head of the UWM Phonetics Lab. Web server implementation and internal web development were carried out by Jeremy Streich of Web & Data in the College of Letters and Science at UWM. It is hosted and maintained by Web & Data in the College of Letters and Science at UWM.
- Boersma, Paul & Weenink, David (2019). Praat: doing phonetics by computer [Computer program]. Version 6.0.49, retrieved 2 March 2019 from http://www.praat.org/
- Hidden Markov Model Toolkit [Computer program]. Version 3.4 (2006) retrieved 28 Sept. 2018 from http://htk.eng.cam.ac.uk/
- Jiahong Yuan and Mark Liberman (2009). Penn Phonetics Lab Forced Aligner for English [Computer program]. Version 1.002, retrieved 28 Sept. 2018 from https://web.sas.upenn.edu/phonetics-lab/facilities/