Speech Science

Speech is an evolved process of shape-writing and shape matching in the frequency-processing region of the brain. This realization inspired the idea for a computer-based speech therapy application and the interspecies communication technology featured in The Whale Song Translation.

I’ve recently resurrected a prototype of a speech modulated shape writing application that I demonstrated many years ago at the California School for the Deaf in Fremont Ca. It’s designed like a videogame, and utilizes visual feedback in a very unique frequency representation of vowels and consonants to help the hearing-challenged correct their pronunciation by matching the shapes they generate as they speak to a target picture of the correct shape.

As a point of reference, just for fun, think about the smoking caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland, that memorable scene both in the book and the movie, where he’s blowing these alphabet-sculpted smoke rings, mirroring the words he’s speaking. Well, you and I are doing the same thing. Every word we pronounce is a different shape in the frequency domain, called a word gram.

I generated the following examples of word gram plots using the shape writing application: