OXford IntonationGENerator

A quantitative model of Intonational Variation in the British Isles

UK Economic and Social Research Council Award RES-000-23-0149
University of Oxford Phonetics Laboratory

May 2003 - April 2005

Principal Investigators: Esther Grabe and John Coleman

Associated Research Fellow: Greg Kochanski

Summary of Research

In this project we shall investigate variation in English intonation, insofar as it is represented in an existing corpus containing recordings of nine dialects of English. Whereas prior models of intonation focus on a single dialect and style, we shall construct a statistical computational model of intonation which takes account of variation due to dialect, speaking style, gender and individual speaker habits.

The model will be useful for the UK speech technology industry. Developers of automatic speech synthesis and recognition systems require linguistically rich yet quantitative models of intonation because current systems cannot produce or recognise the intonation patterns of different English dialects, styles or speakers. Our work will also be valuable for speech therapists, for whom we shall prepare an informative leaflet, and for English language teachers.

The full project proposal is available here.


Kochanski, G., Grabe, E., Coleman, J. and Rosner, B. (submitted). Loudness predicts prominence; fundamental frequency lends little. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America.

Grabe, E., Kochanski, G. and Coleman, J. (accepted). The intonation of native accent varieties in the British Isles - potential for miscommunication? To appear in Katarzyna Dziubalska-Kolaczyk and Joanna Przedlacka (eds.), English pronunciation models: a changing scene. Linguistic Insights Series, Peter Lang.

Fletcher, J., Grabe, E., and Warren, P. (2004). Intonational variation in four dialects of English: the high rising tune. In Sun-Ah Jun (ed.) Prosodic typology. The Phonology of Intonation and Phrasing. Oxford, OUP.

Grabe, E. (2004). Intonational variation in urban dialects of English spoken in the British Isles. In Gilles, P. and Peters, J. (eds.) Regional Variation in Intonation. Linguistische Arbeiten, Tuebingen, Niemeyer, pp. 9-31.

Kochanski, G., Grabe, E. and Coleman, J. (2004). The difference between a question and a statement: a survey of English dialects. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 115(5), p. 2398.