Saturday, November 19, 2011

English non-word, German word

This is a picture from a 2008 trip to Switzerland, where an ad meaninglessly (to me) stated: "bleib cool, mann". These were all over the place, which is amusing when you don't know exactly what is being advertised.

Since then, I have accepted the straightforward Internet translations of "stay cool, man" (or "man that stayed cool"?). Either way, one of my favorite IPhOD pseudowords ("BLEEB") is quite similar to a high frequency German word. Enligsh non-words in your experiments can appear as meaningful words elsewhere in the world (or German classes). This may be an unavoidable issue in using pseudowords in research, but there are things that an experimenter can do to identify items such as these. Get to know your participants, ask about language-background, and take careful notes. (e.g. How many of your English-speaking students that apparently had superior pseudoword recall were taking language classes?)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Searching IPhOD 2.0 Online

As of January 11, 2011, the newest release of IPhOD (version 2.0) can be searched online. Most users that I've communicated with prefer the online search to an offline manipulation of text files, so this should encourage researchers to begin making the switch from version 1.4. The search webpages and utilities were modified minimally, so if you've already learned to search the database then the newest version of IPhOD a snap to explore.

Online searches that were performed on IPhOD prior to January 11, 2011 used version 1.4. I preserved the search utilities for the previous release (1.4), so if you're halfway finished with your experimental stimuli - have no worries! In the future, I would suggest that users note which version (2.0, 1.4, etc.) that was used in your research.

As introduced previously, the latest release (2.0) contains several new measures, including a new word frequency metric that is more reliable than 1.4. There is a larger number of real words, and I included homographs and homophones in this version. Although there was an expansion of options and words in IPhOD 2.0, many calculations have a global similarity (e.g. when considering 30K+ shared words) in terms of measured associations between old and new calculations. The raw count based calculations are highly similar between versions, while the frequency-weighted values deviate somewhat - as would be expected based on improved word counts. Interestingly, there are strong associations between the log KF (v1.4) and log10 SF (v2.0) -weighted values, indicating that the normalizing effect of log-based transformations might obliviate ~ 50 years of change in word usage, within limits.

One drawback to using IPhOD 2.0: the online calculator tool currently only uses base values from IPhOD 1.4. If you cannot find a word or pseudoword while searching IPhOD 2.0, then you cannot spell it out in glyphs to obtain value estimates. While that limits your options, the version 2.0 contains over 50,000 entries, so my priority was to make the online search tool available first. The next project is to adapt my calculator code to generate version 2.0 based values.

My hope is that these expanded search tools will aid speech research and applications. As always, I welcome your feedback. I'll try to resolve any technical issues as quickly as possible.

Good luck!