Ability of computer systems to accept speech input and act on it or transcribe it into written language. Current research efforts are directed toward applications of automatic speech recognition (ASR), where the goal is to transform the content of speech into knowledge that forms the basis for linguistic or cognitive tasks, such as translation into another language. Practical applications include database-query systems, information retrieval systems, and speaker identification and verification systems, as in telebanking. Speech recognition has promising applications in robotics, particularly development of robots that can “hear.” Seealso pattern recognition.
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Human communication through audible language. Speech sounds are made with air exhaled from the lungs, which passes between the vocal cords in the larynx and out through the vocal tract (pharynx and oral and nasal cavities). This airstream is shaped into different sounds by the articulators, mainly the tongue, palate, and lips (see articulation). Articulatory phonetics describes each sound in terms of the position and action of the articulators used to make it. Speech is also described in terms of syntax, lexicon (inventory of words or morphemes), and phonology (sounds).
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Form of expression used to convey meaning or heighten effect, often by comparing or identifying one thing with another that has a meaning or connotation familiar to the reader or listener. An integral part of language, figures of speech are found in oral literatures as well as in polished poetry and prose and in everyday speech. Common figures of speech include simile, metaphor, personification, hyperbole, irony, alliteration, onomatopoeia, and puns.
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Speech communication stands in contrast to sign language and written language. From the point of view of linguistic evolution, spoken is prior to written language. The writing system of any language is developed or "invented" by its users to record speech when the need arises. Even today, there are many world languages that can be spoken but have no standard written form. Hearing persons acquire their first language by way of spoken language. Writing is learned later. In linguistics, spoken language reveals many true features of human speech. Transcripts of actual speech show numerous hesitancies which are usually glossed over in written forms of 'speech' such as screenplays. Thus linguists' data for investigation and analysis are mostly drawn from everyday speech, which they regard as authentic. Even from the point of view of syntax, spoken language usually has its own set of grammar patterns which sometimes may be quite different from that in written language.
Sign languages have the same natural origin as spoken languages, and the same grammatical complexities, but use the hands, arms, and face rather than parts of the mouth as their place of articulation.
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