Special sessions

The SST2022 programme will include two exciting special sessions (see full details below):

Multi-disciplinary approaches to forensic speech science: from different starting points to a shared goal

Sociophonetic explorations of ethnic and ethnolectal variation

Special sessions are thematic groupings of oral presentations, exploring key topics, challenges or debates of relevance to the speech science community.

For any queries relating to the special sessions, please contact the session organisers.

Multi-disciplinary approaches to forensic speech science: from different starting points to a shared goal

Special Session Organiser: Yuko Kinoshita (Yuko.Kinoshita@anu.edu.au)

The Forensic Speech Science Committee of ASSTA presents this special session with the aim of broadening the base of forensic speech science research in our region. We would like more researchers from the ASSTA community to join in discussions on how their knowledge can be applied to forensic contexts.
Speech science can make significant contributions to our legal system and law enforcement practice, and increased concerns for cyber security will accelerate demands for this expertise. Expert knowledge in speech science – both phonetics and speech engineering – plays a critical role in many areas including voice comparison, transcriptions of covert recordings, audio enhancement, language and accent assessment, detection of falsified speech recordings, analyses of contents of disputed utterances, critiquing scientifically unsound expert reports on voice evidence, and informing courts on the complexities of human speech communication.
Our aim for this session is to encourage new discussions and collaborations, as well as sharing the latest work from researchers in this field. We particularly welcome contributions from researchers who are new to forensic applications. Relevant fields include automatic speech and speaker recognition, vocal tract modelling, natural language processing, acoustic and auditory phonetics, cognitive linguistics, socio-phonetics, and second language acquisition.

Sociophonetic explorations of ethnic and ethnolectal variation

Special Session Organiser: Catherine Travis (Catherine.Travis@anu.edu.au)

The role of ethnicity in language variation and change has long been of interest, from Labov’s founding study on Martha’s Vineyard (1963). More recently, attention has turned to multicultural urban centres, sparking a burgeoning of studies exploring ethnolectal variation across the globe. One of the earliest such studies was conducted in Sydney, Australia, by Barbara Horvath (1985) who found that Italian and Greek young Australians were leading a change towards “General” Australian English vowels. Since then, the proposal that ethnic minorities, and culturally diverse centres, may help advance change has gained some traction (e.g., Cheshire et al. 2011), but just how widely this holds is not yet known.
This special session provides an opportunity to consider what factors might impact the role of ethnic minorities in leading, lagging, or proceeding alongside patterns of variation and change in the wider society. Issues that may be relevant include type of variable examined (e.g., vocalic, consonantal, suprasegmental); social meaning of the variable; interaction between ethnicity and other social features, such as social class and gender; and so on. Submissions are invited for papers that engage with these broad questions in addressing the role of ethnicity in phonetic and phonological variation and change.

References
Cheshire, Jenny, Paul Kerswill, Sue Fox and Eivind Torgersen. 2011. Contact, the feature pool and the speech community: The emergence of Multicultural London English. Journal of Sociolinguistics 15(2): 151-196.
Horvath, Barbara. 1985. Variation in Australian English: The sociolects of Sydney. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Labov, William. 1963. The social motivation of a sound change. Word 19: 273-309.