Friday, March 31, 2006

Time scale modification, part 3: the $0 version (again)

For more background:

Time scale modification for language learning purposes - the $29.95 version
Time scale modification - the $0 version

I just figured out that you don't have to pay $29.95 and buy Enounce to do time scale modification inside Windows Media Player - it comes straight built into WMP. This means that you can speed up or slow down the playing speed of an audio file without having to go into Audacity and repeatedly save the file with different settings. This is how you activate it:

1. When playing a file, click on the 'Now Playing' tab. This brings you to a visualisation of the file being played. Of course, you might have 'No visualisation' selected, in which case you will have a screen that's about 3/4 black, with your 'Now Playing' list on the right hand side and player controls on the bottom.

2. Just beneath the 'Now Playing' tab, there's a small button with three lines and a down arrow. Click this, then select Enhancements > Show Enhancements. This brings up a little window above the player controls.

3. Click on the right or left buttons in that little window, until you get to 'Play Speed Settings'. This is where you can speed up or slow down the player to your heart's delight.

Wow, I wish I had figured this out before. There are other enhancements you can play around with, such as turning on the WOW effects. This makes classical music sound grander and more echo-y (as far as I can tell). It's a nice effect, especially with headphones.

Friday, March 17, 2006

I'm goin' dahntahn tomorrow to catch me a bus

There's a cute article in the New York Times (reg req'd) [via the CogSci Librarian] about a roadtrip across the Eastern U.S. to listen to different dialects starting in New York City, going up through Rochester and down into Pittsburgh.

Having been in Pittsburgh for the last six weeks, I can attest to the reality of the pronunciation of "downtown" as "dahntahn". I heard it when I first got on a bus and asked, "Is this bus going downtown?" and the driver replied, "Yeah, dahntahn." It was like a lightbulb going off in my head, bringing back memories of Linguistics 109 ("I'm goin' dahntahn to get me a sammich"). I can't say I've noted too many other Pittsburgh quirks though - didn't notice any sammiches, for instance. Being in the university area, most people I hear are decidedly not native Pittsburghers.

I'll try to pay more attention this weekend as I travel into the Northern Cities Vowel Shift area, but seeing as I lived in upstate New York for four years, the accent around there seems pretty normal to me now.