The Audio Archive

 

Sound samples are spoken by native English speakers from around the world. The spoken texts have been chosen for their usefulness in accent determination. On this page:

 

The spoken texts

The sound samples on this page are available in MP3 and WAV format. The MP3 files are recommended because they are much smaller, so they download more quickly and are more economical with Internet resources. Also a few users have found that the WAV files sound garbled on their PCs. To enable MP3 in your browser, visit MPEG.ORG.

"RP" stands for "Received Pronunciation" (more information).

Arthur the Rat

Average file sizes (Kb): MP3 210, WAV 590 [Text]
  • Australia
    • [MP3] [WAV] General Australian speaker 1
    • [MP3] [WAV] General Australian speaker 2
  • Canada
    • [MP3] [WAV] Canadian speaker with assorted influences
    • [MP3] [WAV] Canadian from Atlantic Canada (East Coast)
  • England
    • [MP3] [WAV] RP speaker 1 (was incorrectly labelled "RP speaker 2" before 17 Oct 2003)
    • [MP3] [WAV] Cornish speaker
    • [MP3] [WAV] RP speaker 2 (was incorrectly labelled "RP speaker 1" before 17 Oct 2003)
    • [MP3] [WAV] British speaker with international influences
    • [MP3] [WAV] RP speaker 3
  • India
  • Ireland
    • [MP3] [WAV] Southern Irish speaker
  • USA
    • [MP3] [WAV] General mid-western speaker (Michigan)
    • [MP3] [WAV] Southwestern speaker with mid-western influences
    • [MP3] [WAV] Mid-western speaker (Dallas)
    • [MP3] [WAV] New York City born Northeastern speaker
    • [MP3] [WAV] American speaker with various influences
    • [MP3] [WAV] Western speaker with influences from all over America
    • [MP3] [WAV] Chicago speaker with influences from Iowa and Southern California
    • [MP3] [WAV] Georgia speaker with northern Florida influences (comments) [MP3+] [WAV+] [WAV++]
    • [MP3] New York City born Texan speaker
    • [MP3] [WAV] Southern California native living in Florida, male, 50, with national influences (and some voice training)

(+ indicates higher quality reproduction, double the file size)

The Rainbow Passage

Average file sizes (Kb): MP3 190, WAV 530. [Text]

  • Australia
    • [MP3] [WAV] General Australian speaker 2
  • England
  • USA
    • [MP3] [WAV] General mid-western speaker (Michigan)
    • [MP3] [WAV] Southwestern speaker with mid-western influences
  • Canada
    • [MP3] [WAV] Canadian from Atlantic Canada (East Coast)

The North Wind and The Sun

Average file sizes (Kb): MP3 55, WAV 155. [Text]

  • England
  • USA
    • [MP3] [WAV] General mid-western speaker (Michigan)
    • [MP3] [WAV] Southwestern speaker with mid-western influences
    • [MP3] [WAV] Californian speaker

Bother, father caught...

Accent determination by one sentence.

Average file sizes (Kb): MP3 7, WAV 20. Text: "Bother, father caught hot coffee in the car park."

  • Australia
    • [MP3] [WAV] General Australian speaker 1
    • [MP3] [WAV] General Australian speaker 2
  • Canada
    • [MP3] [WAV] Canadian speaker with assorted influences
    • [MP3] [WAV] Canadian speaker
  • England
  • Ireland
    • [MP3] [WAV] Southern Irish speaker
  • New Zealand
    • [MP3] [WAV] New Zealand speaker (due to a transmission error "bother" was confused with "brother")
  • USA
    • [MP3] [WAV] General mid-western speaker (Dayton, Ohio)
    • [MP3] [WAV] Mid-western speaker (South-East Oklahoma)
    • [MP3] [WAV] General mid-western speaker (Michigan)
    • [MP3] [WAV] Mid-western speaker (Dallas)
    • [MP3] [WAV] Southwestern speaker with mid-western influences
    • [MP3] [WAV] American speaker with various influences
    • [MP3] [WAV] American speaker from Southern California
    • [MP3] [WAV] Western speaker with influences from all over America
    • [MP3] [WAV] Standard American speech (assembled from the Random House Second Unabridged dictionary)
    • [MP3] [WAV] Chicago speaker with influences from Iowa and Southern California
    • [MP3] [WAV] Californian speaker
    • [MP3] [WAV] Southern speaker (eastern North Carolina)

I teach Ferdinand

Accent determination by a short introduction with a few significant sentences.

Average file sizes (Kb): MP3 14, WAV 36. Text: "I teach Ferdinand the calm cat to fetch cold cups of coffee. Who knows more about tasting things? He's used the book."

  • Australia
    • [MP3] [WAV] General Australian speaker 2
  • Canada
    • [MP3] [WAV] Alberta Canadian speaker
  • England
  • USA
    • [MP3] [WAV] Southwestern speaker with mid-western influences
    • [MP3] [WAV] Mid-western speaker (North-East Kansas)
    • [MP3] [WAV] New York City speaker, recently relocated to Missouri
    • [MP3] [WAV] Californian speaker

Comma gets a cure

This passage was specially composed using J.C. Wells' standard lexical sets and allows the dialect researcher to examine a reader's English pronunciation across a wide variety of phonemic contexts.

Average file sizes (Kb): MP3 666, WAV 3675. [Text and information]

  • USA
    • [MP3] [WAV] Western speaker with influences from all over America
    • [MP3] New York City born Texan speaker

Other Sound Files

In addition to the sound files in this archive, there are others at this Web site in the following places:

If you're looking for a sound file that has a particular word in it that you know, you may be able to find it by using the English Usage Site Search facility to search on that word.

At Links: Audio references there are links to some remote sites at which various sound files can be found. In particular, there's a large collection of English dialect examples from many different parts of the world at The University of Kansas IDEA site.

Technical information

The WAV files use a sampling frequency 11,025 Hz with 4-bit quantization, except for one that had originally been sampled at 8,000 Hz. Some WAV files have been converted to 8-bit quantization because it was learned that some users were having problems with the 4-bit format. Future submissions to the archive should be sampled at at least 22,050 Hz. Submitted files will be used to create an MP3 file with 22,050 sampling rate. WAV files may be resampled to a lower rate.

Received pronunciation

"RP" stands for "Received Pronunciation". RP speaker 1, Markus Laker, describes himself as an "Older style" RP speaker. Actually, there is a difference between Markus Laker's pronunciation and RP. See also pages ASCII IPA (Combined) and Interlinear transliterations.

Credits

I, (the originator of this page, Igor Merfert) would like to express my gratitude to every contributor. Many thanks to

  • the Southern Irish speaker Brian J. Goggin, Ireland,
  • the General mid-western speaker, US (Michigan) Dr. Thomas M. Schenk, CA, USA,
  • the General mid-western speaker (Dayton, Ohio) Anandashankar Mazumdar, who comments "I believe my accent has been heavily influenced by the American mass media and I believe there are some (very) small influences of educated Indian and British R.P. accents",
  • the Canadian speaker with assorted influences Mark Israel, CA, USA,
  • the General Australian speaker 1 Mark Barton, USA,
  • the Indian speaker Sridhar Prasad, USA,
  • the Southwestern speaker with mid-western influences Michael Tseng, CA, USA,
  • the Midwestern speaker (Dallas) Bill. T., TX, USA,
  • the British speaker with international influences Jitze Couperus, USA,
  • RP speaker 3 John Underwood, Conductor of the Prommers' Orchestra & Chorus, England,
  • the New York City born Northeastern speaker Larry Krakauer, USA,
  • the Western speaker with influences from all over America Bob Cunningham, USA,
  • the New York City speaker recently relocated to Missouri, Michael Hamm, USA
  • the Alberta Canadian speaker, Jay Litwyn
  • and General Australian speaker 2, Adrian Morgan, who describes himself as "from South Australia ( ~ Adelaide) and possibly showing regional variation from more populous eastern states"
  • the New York City born Texan speaker (20 years in Queens, 10 years in New Jersey/US Navy, 35 years in Texas).

Special thanks to the audio archive consultant and RP speaker 1, Markus Laker, England.

Furthermore, I would like to thank the Universitätsrechenzentrum der Otto-von-Guericke-Universität Magdeburg for kindly providing additional web space, and Felix Boenchendorf for converting the sound files to MP3-format.

Some of the MPEG files used here were converted from WAV files using the freeware program ACM Station (Version 2.1), which was written by Leeb Andreas, April 1999. Others were converted with GoldWave.

The alt.usage.english Audio Archive was first opened by Igor Merfert on 10 October 1997. Igor announced in AUE on 16 June 1999 that the archive had been closed at his site and would not reappear there.

The webmaster would also like to express his appreciation to all other speakers not explicitly mentioned above.

Contribute!

If you are a native English speaker and you would like to submit a sound sample to be added to the Audio Archive, you are welcome to do so. If you are interested, please contact the webmaster. Before you make a sound file, though, you are strongly recommended to read the comments on sound recording.