English intonation in the British Isles

Documentation for the IViE Corpus
Copyrightİ2001 Esther Grabe
ESRC Award Number R000237145

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Searchable On-Line Version
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About this Corpus

Key to File Names

Key to Speaker Initials & Speaker Gender

Stimuli: Sentences & Read Text

Download summary booklet


The IViE corpus contains 36 hours of speech data from nine varieties of English spoken in the British Isles. These pages provide on-line documentation for the speech-only version of the corpus (i.e. not for the prosodically transcribed version of the IViE corpus). The speech-only corpus is (or, in one case, has been) available in the following formats:

IViE Corpus on CD-ROM: CDs 1-4 contain two varieties of English each and CD 5 contains one variety. Each variety has been put into a separate directory and within each variety directory, you will find 5 subdirectories, one for each speaking style. Please note: we have had an unexpectedly large number of requests for CD-ROM version and we have only a limited number of CD-ROM packs left.

Downloadable version: you can download separate packages of speech data from each dialect, for each of the five speaking styles in the corpus; e.g. Belfast: Read text; Newcastle: Map task.

On-line version: here, you can listen to data from the corpus on-line and to download as many individual files as you wish.

The speech data are in .wav format and be viewed & heard with xwaves, PRAAT ( downloadable free of charge via the web), Pitchworks and any other signal processing package that can read .wav format.

If you have the IViE CDs or if you have downloaded the IViE data and you would like to listen to and look at a selection of files, please proceed as follows.

1. Start by reading the section 'About this corpus' below. In this section, you will find some more information about the data in the corpus.

2. The purpose of the next section 'Keys to file name coding and speaker initials' explains the structure of the file names and show how much information about the speech file one can derive from it filename. Secondly, the section provides a list of speaker initials in each variety and information about speaker gender.

3. In the following section 'The Stimuli', you find orthographic transcriptions of the read speech data.

More detailed information about the corpus is give on the IViE homepage.

Information about the IViE system for prosodic labelling which we have developed for the transcription of intonational variation in English is available here .

About this Corpus

The IViE corpus was set up for the investigation of cross-varietal and stylistic variation in British English intonation. Varieties of English included in the corpus are:

- Belfast
- Bradford (Punjabi-English bilinguals)
- Cardiff (Welsh-English bilinguals) - Cambridge
- Dublin
- Leeds English
- Liverpool
- London (speakers of West Indian descent)
- Newcastle English

Here's a
map of the British Isles which shows where we've made the recordings.

The data were collected in urban secondary schools, and the speakers were 16 years old at the time when the recordings were made. We recorded minimally six male and six female speakers from each variety (we recorded some additional speakers for some of the varieties, and there are 116 speakers in all).

View the speaker table.

Data in five speaking styles have been recorded: controlled sentences, a read text, a retold version of the same text, a map task and free conversations.

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Key to File Names


Filenames have five characters, e.g. 's3cji.wav'. The first character is a letter and indicates the sentence type:

s = statement (declarative)
q = question without morphosyntactic makers
w = WH-question
i = inversion question (modal question)
c = coordination structure (with 'or')

's3cji.wav' contains a recording of a declarative sentence.

The second character is a number (e.g. '3' in s3cji.wav) and shows which sentence was produced (see the file 'Stimuli' for texts). E.g. there are eight different statements. s3cji.wav contains statement number 3 'We arrived in a limo'.

The third character ('c' in s3cji.wav) indicates the variety. 'c' stands for 'Cambridge'.

b = Belfast
p = Bradford Punjabi
c = Cambridge
w = Cardiff
m = Dublin (recordings were made in Malahide in Dublin)
l = Leeds
s = Liverpool
j = London
n = Newcastle

The two letters at the end of the filename are the initals of the speaker (speaker ji in s2cji.wav). Speaker gender is not coded in the filenames. Information about gender is given in the following section.

Key to Speaker Initials & Gender

To see the speaker table, please click

Information on the additional speakers and speaker pairings in the interactive tasks will be added here soon. Please note that interactive files are coded with the initial of one of the speakers in the pair. If you need to know who the other speaker was before this information has been added here, please mail Esther.

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The Stimuli

Sentences (controlled, fully voiced):

8 different statements
3 different questions without morphosyntactic markers
3 different WH-questions
3 different inversion-questions
5 different coordination structures, conjuction: 'or'

For a key to filenames for a particular sentence , please read the section
keys to file names.

I. Sentences

(1) Simple Statements.

1. We live in Ealing.
2. You remembered the lillies.
3. We arrived in a limo.
4. They are on the railings.
5. We were in yellow.
6. He is on the lilo.
7. You are feeling mellow.
8. We were lying.

(2) Questions without morphosyntactic markers:

1. He is on the lilo?
2. You remembered the lillies?
3. You live in Ealing?

(3) Inversion questions:

1. May I lean on the railings?
2. May I leave the meal early?
3. Will you live in Ealing?

(4) WH-Questions:

1. Where is the manual?
2. When will you be in Ealing?
3. Why are we in a limo?

(5) Coordinations

1. Are you growing limes or lemons?
2. Is his name Miller or Mailer?
3. Did you say mellow or yellow?
4. Do you live in Ealing or Reading?
5. Did he say lino or lilo?

II. The Cinderella Passage

Once upon a time there was a girl called Cinderella. But everyone called her Cinders. Cinders lived with her mother and two stepsisters called Lily and Rosa. Lily and Rosa were very unfriendly and they were lazy girls. They spent all their time buying new clothes and going to parties. Poor Cinders had to wear all their old hand-me-downs! And she had to do the cleaning!

One day, a royal messenger came to announce a ball. The ball would be held at the Royal Palace, in honour of the Queenıs only son, Prince William. Lily and Rosa thought this was divine. Prince William was gorgeous, and he was looking for a bride! They dreamed of wedding bells!

When the evening of the ball arrived, Cinders had to help her sisters get ready. They were in a bad mood. They'd wanted to buy some new gowns, but their mother said that they had enough gowns. So they started shouting at Cinders. 'Find my jewels!' yelled one. 'Find my hat!' howled the other. They wanted hairbrushes, hairpins and hair spray.

When her sisters had gone, Cinders felt very down, and she cried. Suddenly, a voice said: 'Why are you crying, my dear?'. It was her fairy godmother!
The girl poured her heart out: 'Lily and Rosa have it all!' she cried, 'even though they're awful, and fat, and they're dull! And I want to go to the ball, and meet Prince William!'

'You will, wonıt you?' laughed her fairy godmother. 'Go into the garden and find me a pumpkin'. Cinders went, and found a splendid pumpkin which the fairy changed into a dazzling carriage.

'Now bring me four white mice,' the godmother said. The girl went, and found one... two...three...four mice. The fairy godmother changed the mice into four lovely horses to pull the carriage.

Then the girl looked at her old rags. 'Oh dear!' she sighed. 'Where will I find something to wear? I don't have a gown!' 'Hmmm...' said the fairy : 'Let's see, what do you need? You'll need a ballgown... you need jewellery... you need shoes, and... something needs to be done about your hair. And would you like a blue gown or a green gown?'

For the third time, Cinders' godmother waved her magic wand. A ballgown, a robe and jewels appeared. And there were some elegant glass slippers. 'You look wonderful,' her fairy godmother said, smiling. 'Just remember one thing - the magic only lasts until midnight!' And off Cinders went to the ball.

In the Royal Palace, everyone was amazed by the radiant girl in the beautiful ballgown. 'Who is she?' they asked. Prince William thought Cinders was the most beautiful girl he had ever seen. 'Have we met?' he asked. 'And may I have the honour of this dance?'

Prince William and Cinders danced for hours. Cinders was so glad that she failed to remember her fairy godmotherıs warning. Suddenly the clock chimed midnight! Cinders ran from the ballroom. 'Where are you going?' Prince William called. In her hurry, Cinders lost one of her slippers. The Prince wanted to find Cinderella, but he couldn't find the girl. 'I don't even know her name,' he sighed. But he held on to the slipper.

After the ball, the Prince was resolved to find the beauty who had stolen his heart. The glass slipper was his only clue. So he declared: 'The girl whose foot will fit this slipper shall be my wife'. And he began to search the kingdom.

Every girl in the land was willing to try on the slipper. But the slipper was always too small. When the Royal travellers arrived at Cinders' home, Lily and Rosa tried to squeeze their feet into the slipper. But it was no use; their feet were enormous! 'Do you have any other girls?' the Prince asked Cinders' mother. 'One more,' she replied. 'Oh no,' cried Lily and Rosa. 'She is much too busy!' But the Prince insisted that all girls must try the slipper.

Cinders was embarrassed. She didn't want the Prince to see her in her old apron. And her face was dirty! 'This is your daughter?' the Prince asked, amazed. But then Cinders tried on the glass slipper, and it fitted perfectly!

The Prince looked carefully at the girl's face, and he recognised her. 'It's you, my darling isn't it?' he yelled. 'Will you marry me?' Lily and Rosa were horrified. 'It was you at the ball, Cinders?' they asked. They couldn't believe it! Then Cinders married William, and they lived happily ever after.

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Esther Grabe