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As in other chapters, there will be many examples drawn from practical experience managing linguistic data, including data that has been collected in the course of linguistic fieldwork, laboratory work, and web crawling.The TIMIT corpus of read speech was the first annotated speech database to be widely distributed, and it has an especially clear organization.

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In general, a text or speech corpus may be annotated at many different linguistic levels, including morphological, syntactic, and discourse levels.Finally, notice that even though TIMIT is a speech corpus, its transcriptions and associated data are just text, and can be processed using programs just like any other text corpus.Therefore, many of the computational methods described in this book are applicable.: Structure of the Published TIMIT Corpus: The CD-ROM contains doc, train, and test directories at the top level; the train and test directories both have 8 sub-directories, one per dialect region; each of these contains further subdirectories, one per speaker; the contents of the directory for female speaker A fourth feature of TIMIT is the hierarchical structure of the corpus.With 4 files per sentence, and 10 sentences for each of 500 speakers, there are 20,000 files.Moreover, even at a given level there may be different labeling schemes or even disagreement amongst annotators, such that we want to represent multiple versions.

A second property of TIMIT is its balance across multiple dimensions of variation, for coverage of dialect regions and diphones.

These are organized into a tree structure, shown schematically in 1.2.

At the top level there is a split between training and testing sets, which gives away its intended use for developing and evaluating statistical models.

The same holds true of text corpora, in the sense that the original text usually has an external source, and is considered to be an immutable artifact.

Any transformations of that artifact which involve human judgment — even something as simple as tokenization — are subject to later revision, thus it is important to retain the source material in a form that is as close to the original as possible.

TIMIT was developed by a consortium including Texas Instruments and MIT, from which it derives its name.