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Department of Linguistics

Speech and Language Processing: Overview

This program is offered only to continuing students. No new admissions will be accepted.

The computing power of today's desktop computers enables applications which could not even be conceived of only fifteen years ago; this power is being effectively utilised in new applications and user interfaces based on human speech and language. Desktop speech recognition is now commonplace and telephone based systems are now in place which allow simple transactions to be carried out without a human operator. Internet services are available to translate documents between English and several other languages. These and other applications are developed by teams including Computer Scientists, Linguists and Electronic Engineers. Each team member brings different skills to the projects but all must have a core knowledge of the structure of language or speech and the techniques used to implement advanced software systems featuring these technologies. This Masters program has been designed to take advantage of a strong research and development base to provide a grounding in speech and language technology for graduates who want to be part of this exciting field.

The Centre for Language Sciences (CLaS) (incorporating the Speech Hearing and Language Research Centre [SHLRC]) has been a leader in Australian speech, hearing and language research for many years attracting millions of dollars in government and industry funding for its research program. The centre is home to researchers in speech and natural language processing as well as linguists interested in grammar and the structure of language and researchers and clinicians working on aspects of hearing. Current research projects include studies of the physiology of speech production, the phonetics of Australian English, the perception of vowels, the auditory processing of speech, recognition of children's speech, the development of an Australian text-to-speech system and the generation of English and multilingual texts and of multimodal presentations. The Centre for Language Technology in Macquarie's Division of Information and Communication Sciences is the largest natural language technology research group in Australia, and has received substantial funding from government and industry for its leading-edge research in natural language processing technologies. The group works in Web based automatic language generation, and focuses its research on information extraction techniques and dialog systems.