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Proceedings 20 of the Dept. of Language & Speech, 1996
H. Strik & L. Boves (1987a)
Proceedings 11th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, Tallinn, Vol. VI, pp. 32-35.

Dept. of Language & Speech



The proceedings of the Department of Language and Speech of the University of Nijmegen is an annual publication. One of its aims is to keep its readers informed about educational and ongoing research activities at the department.

Below you will find the contents and the editorial section of the proceedings.

The last part of the proceedings consists of articles.





  • PhD theses
  • papers in the field of computer linguistics
  • papers in the field of corpus linguistics
  • papers in the field of phonetics and speech technology
  • MA theses in the field of language, speech and informatics
  • On the speaker-dependence of the perceived prominence of F0 peaks  
    C. Gussenhoven and T. Rietveld 
  • Eliciting floating postmodifiers  
    I. de Mönnink 
  • Parsing data from the ATIS SLSP corpus: some preliminary results  
    N. Oostdijk 
  • The influence of F0-movements on the perception of the duration of silent intervals  
    T. Rietveld, H. Ebben and W. Huynck 
  • Comparison of channel normalisation techniques for automatic speech recognition over the telephone  
    J. de Veth and L. Boves 
  • Modelling pronunciation variation: some preliminary results  
    M. Wester, J. Kessens, C. Cucchiarini and H. Strik 


The Proceedings of the Department of Language and Speech of the University of Nijmegen is an annual publication. One of its aims is to keep its readers informed about educational and ongoing research activities at the department.

    The Department of Language and Speech offers two full-time MA programmes:

  1. Language, Speech and Informatics is a four-year graduate programme. The major emphasis of the programme is on language and speech technology, with a substantial number of courses in computer science to support scientific research as well as application development in that field. Courses in this programme cover subjects such as phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics, but also principles of computer programming, the organisation of databases, and basic courses in cognitive science. Apart from these basic courses there are more specialised ones, for instance on signal analysis techniques and automatic speech synthesis. In general, the programme aims at training highly-skilled professionals who are qualified for employment in the office automation and information industry, by providing a useful combination of courses in the field of linguistics, speech science, computer science, and language and speech technology.

  2. Speech and Language Pathology is a three-year graduate programme which is organisationally situated in the Department of Language and Speech. Several faculties participate in this interdisciplinary programme: arts, social sciences and medicine. The curriculum focuses on skills necessary to carry out both fundamental and applied research in the field of pathological and normal language and speech behaviour. The following courses are offered: speech production and perception, psycholinguistics, neuropsychology, anatomy and physiology, instrumentation, syntax, research methodology, speech and language pathology.

    The department comprises three sections: Computer Linguistics, Corpus Linguistics and Phonetics/Speech Technology. Thematically, the research topics pursued in these sections are the following:

  1. computer linguistics:
    • automatic syntactic and semantic analysis
    • principle-based parsing
    • natural language generation
    • tools for second language acquisition

  2. corpus linguistics:
    • corpus compilation
    • corpus-related research into lexicology, syntax and discourse
    • CAI-applications
    • tools for the morpho-syntactic analysis of corpora and their subsequent exploitation

  3. phonetics and speech technology:
    • automatic speech recognition
    • text-to-speech conversion
    • voice source modelling
    • prosody
    • speaker recognition and speaker characteristics
    • transcription
    • speech pathology
Funding for the research in the Department of Language and Speech comes from three different sources:
  1. Direct government funding': Research activities sponsored by the University of Nijmegen, primarily in the framework of the research programme Language and Speech Technology'. Some members of the department also participate in other research programmes in the Faculty of Arts, viz. Language Theory and Language Description' and Language in Social Context'. This funding category covers all permanent staff plus part of the PhD students.
  2. Indirect government funding': Projects sponsored by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) and the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences (KNAW).
  3. External funding': Funding provided by the Dutch Ministry of Education, the Dutch Ministry of Economics, the EU, and research carried out under contracts with commercial companies.

In 1996, a PhD project started aiming at the development of a general purpose robust parser based on descriptional data from the Algemene Nederlandse Spraakkunst' (the project is carried out by drs. S. van Dreumel). Related to this project is the participation of our department in the international Project Nederlandse Spraakkunst', funded by the Dutch/Belgian Taalunie'. The major part of this project will be organized by the Department of Dutch Language and Literature of the University of Nijmegen. From the Department of Language and Speech, dr. P.A. Coppen will participate as one of the two project supervisors.
  Also in 1996, a PhD project started at the Department of General Linguistics and Dialectology aiming at the generation and analysis of natural language based on the linguistic theory of Semantic Syntax. This project, carried out by drs. L. Teunissen, is supervised by Prof. dr. P.A.M. Seuren and, for the Department of Language and Speech, dr. P.A. Coppen.
  A PhD thesis concerning a natural language interface to a database of chemical experiments was defended in 1996 by dr. B. Van Bakel.

Dr. H. van den Heuvel has successfully defended his thesis on speaker specificity of phonemes in January 1996. Drs. H. Kraayeveld's dissertation was completed in December. This brought the relatively basic approach of speaker recognition research to its completion. Work in this increasingly important field is continuing in the form of two new projects, one project is funded by the Foundation for Technical Sciences (STW) while the other project (CAVE), which is more application-oriented project, is funded under the EC Telematics Application Programme. Both projects are seeing their first, extremely encouraging results.

Research in automatic speech recognition has progressed. The focus of the research of dr. Helmer Strik has shifted somewhat, towards modelling of pronunciation variation. Modelling of pronunciation variation will also be studied in two PhD projects that were approved in 1996. Ir. J. Kessens started in December 1996, and will use a technical, bottom-up approach. On the other hand, a more linguistic, top-down approach will be pursued by drs. M. Wester, who started in January 1997.
  Related to the research on pronunciation variation mentioned above is the research carried out by dr. C. Cucchiarini within a three year research project that explores how automatic speech recognition can be used in (partly) computerised tests of the pronunciation quality of adults who learn Dutch as a second language. In this project we collaborate with Cito (the Central Dutch Institute for Test Development), Swets Testing and PTT Telecom.
  Our department is one of the key locations in the NWO-funded Priority Programme 'Language and Speech Technology', which aims at combining fundamental research in the fields of automatic speech recognition, natural language processing and dialogue management in an operational demonstration version of an automated system that provides information about public transport over the telephone. In the framework of the NWO programme, our department will concentrate its efforts on automatic speech recognition, i.e., acoustic decoding and modelling pronunciation variants.
  Closely connected to the NWO project is the Language Engineering (LE) project Automatic Railway Information Systems for Europe' (ARISE), which aims at building multi-lingual demonstration versions of telephone-based automatic travel information systems for public transport. The collaboration with Philips Dialogue Systems and PTT Telecom that aimed at the implementation of the first operational demonstration version of such a system for the Dutch language was continued.

The contract with KPN Research in the field of text-to-speech conversion was renewed. Work continued, and focused on enriching texts with information that should help a text-to-speech system to compute optimal prosody.

The research on corpus linguistics showed steady progress over the year 1996. Prof. dr. J. Aarts has spent the second half of the year as a guest researcher at the Centre for Advanced Study of the Norwegian Academy.

In these proceedings we present a general alphabetical list of publications that appeared in 1996, an alphabetical list of presentations given in 1996 of which no written publications have yet appeared, the abstracts of dissertations that were defended in 1996, and abstracts of publications by staff members. In addition, a number of reports are included on recent or current research carried out by members of the department which have not (yet) been considered for publication elsewhere. Because the department is an amalgamation of three sections, it has been decided to present the abstracts of publications accordingly. They can be found under the headers Computational Linguistics, Corpus Linguistics, and Phonetics/Speech Technology.

April 1997 
H. Strik 
N. Oostdijk
C. Cucchiarini
P.A. Coppen
Last updated on 22-05-2004