Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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background speech generator

elevator music from your native language
  (+9, -1)(+9, -1)
(+9, -1)
  [vote for,

Idea emerging from discussions with my girlfriend:

Suppose you are sitting in the bus, overhearing some people speaking in a foreign language. You don't understand a word, but you still listen to the melody of the language, you observe some patterns, the distribution of certain sounds, you make guesses about the topic from the intonation or the emotions expressed and your imagination runs freely.

Then you start talking with someone in your own native language that most of the others in the bus don't understand but you notice them starting pay attention, probably in the same way as you did earlier. You are wondering, how does it sound, what is the melody of the language, what images do the sounds evoke, but you can't really tell, because as you listen to your own native language, you actually understand it and the meaning overrides any free association.

The solution to this "problem" would be a kind of "Muzak" (see link) for natural language. A computer program that given enough samples as training data can generate random speech that has all the same properties as the original speech, probably same syllables with the same frequency, smoothly blended in random order, similar intonation of sentences, same melody of the whole speech, but without making any sense whatsoever. That way you could listen to the melody of your native language without paying attention to the meaning.

lkozma, Nov 25 2008

Muzak http://en.wikipedia...wiki/Elevator_music
[lkozma, Nov 25 2008]

Oh No - Musak http://www.last.fm/music/Oh+No/_/Muzak
[Spacecoyote, Nov 25 2008]

Babble http://www.hermanmi...0-c407-n350,00.html
scramble your own speech to sound like a crowd [csea, Nov 26 2008]

Sort of related - a study on the process of creating native vs foreign vocalisations http://www.phys.unsw.edu.au/~jw/L&S.pdf
[zen_tom, Nov 28 2008]

Foreign Language Recognition System http://www.karlrees...580/flrs/report.doc
Again - sort of related [zen_tom, Nov 28 2008]


       // you could listen to the melody of your native language without paying attention to the meaning //   

       Politicians ?
8th of 7, Nov 25 2008

       I think Lily Tomlin said it best "I worry that the person who thought up Muzak may be thinking up something else." [-]
theGem, Nov 25 2008

       complete babble. (+)
Voice, Nov 26 2008

       Travesty with phonemes. [+]
English Bob, Nov 26 2008

       //complete babble// [link]
csea, Nov 26 2008

       Extremely usefull for audio captcha.
kamathln, Nov 26 2008

       I heard some babble-language like this in the game The Sims. Imaginative idea. A +ve vote from me.
doanviettrung, Nov 28 2008

       There's been some research in this area - nonsense syllables were played to groups of people with differing vowel soundings, melodies and inflections - and people were asked to guess what language they thought they were hearing - something like that anyway.
zen_tom, Nov 28 2008

       This is kind of what German sounds like to me.
nomocrow, Nov 28 2008


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