In my search for Master's programs, I'm looking to work on speech synthesis or speech recognition.

I wonder what sub-discipline of linguistics I should be searching in. My first guess was Computational Linguistics, but that sub-discipline seems mainly dedicated to (written) text analysis, automatic translation, and the like.

How can I find a Master's program on these and similar topics? Is there a particular sub-discipline that is dedicated to this study?


  • Computational linguists is definitely a good start, but maybe broad. Also phonetics is relevant. – jk - Reinstate Monica Jan 3 '18 at 11:41
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    Modern speech recognition is pretty much taken over by neural nets - much more computer science than linguistics. (For example, Andrew Ng has declared that phonemes are a fantasy of linguists, and is irrelevant to speech recognition.) So you'd probably want to look into CS departments rather than linguistics departments for that... – WavesWashSands Jan 3 '18 at 11:51
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    The fact that it is possible for humans to build and fly fixed-wing airplanes does not imply that birds are a fantasy of biologists. There are many many ways to recognize speech, and even more to extract information from it; humans naturally exhibit some of them, and linguists study those. They tend to stay more or less the same for ten years, or even longer. As to where to study, whose research do you find the most exciting? If you're not reading the literature, you have no hope of graduate work; if you are, go study with the person whose work excites you. – jlawler Jan 3 '18 at 16:34

Assuming that you want linguistics rather than CS, you should first identify individuals who do the kind of research that you are interested in. Typically, those would be authors of research papers in the area that you find most interesting. For instance, there a number of interesting papers on phonetic properties of under-described languages, and I would take note not only of the names of the authors, but also papers that are referred to therein (generating a second wave of paper-and-author identifications). I would eventually learn who I would really like to work with.

I would discard the notion of looking for a Master's program, at least temporarily, and only apply the MA program desideratum if there is a compelling reason to do so. If you are totally and irrevocably committed to an MA-only approach, then you could google that and see if you really want to work with one of the faculty so identified.

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