(I know that the title of this question is quite opaque, but I'm having a hard time explaining what I'm looking for. Perhaps someone can help with that.)

I need a tool which can take a collection of syllables (preferably phonetically transcribed), look at all possible combinations, and return any combination that creates a real English word. This is to help me create auditory stimuli for a phonetics experiment.

Let me describe the problem I am facing. I have a small collection of recordings of sentences that look something like this:

Yes, Jess mistyped it, I think.

I need to find a way to splice and recombine bits of this sound file to create words that were not originally there. This is because I just don't have enough usable words that I can just extract from the sound file, and for various reasons I can't go out and record my own.

I've been staring at these sentences for a while, trying to figure out what could be spliced together to form something close to actual English words, but I'm not getting anywhere fast. Can anyone think of a way of approaching this problem that doesn't require my own imagination? Is there a searchable dictionary with phonetic transcriptions and regular expressions, or something similar that I could use? Extra points for being able to specify the resulting stress pattern.

  • English syllabification is complicated, and so is English vowel reduction. You can't just recombine syllables arbitrarily and hope to get a plausible pronunciation of a word, even when the phonemes match. Dec 8, 2012 at 0:46
  • What's the goal of this? Couldn't you just use a speech synthesizer? Dec 8, 2012 at 0:47
  • @Mechanicalsnail thanks for the link! Yes, some of the recombinations sounded pretty terrible, but I managed to get a few that my subjects didn't complain about. The goal was to create fillers for a word recognition experiment. I briefly looked into using a speech synthesizer, but I couldn't figure out how natural the outcome would be and I was too pressed for time to look into it more carefully.
    – lapropriu
    Dec 10, 2012 at 4:18
  • I'm considering asking for this question to be closed, since it doesn't seem to be of general interest and I've since moved on with this project. CELEX turned out to be useful, although it was a lot of work.
    – lapropriu
    Dec 10, 2012 at 4:27


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