This is an English/Portuguese course for the eSpeak synthesizer that can be loaded directly into
the Language Learning Assistant program. Culturally, the course is oriented towards Portuguese-
speaking Brazilians who are travelling in England, but linguistically, it is reversible. Thus, those
who want to practise their Portuguese in similar situations are now free to do so with this version
of the course (the original version, written for Windows, is not linguistically reversible).
CONTROLS AND TWEAKS
There are various things inserted into the course which go above and beyond the mere representation of language. Certain items are written,
but remain silent when played by the eSpeak synthesizer. Other items are inserted in order to improve eSpeak's rendering of the exact
pronunciation, timing and intonation. What follows is a series of explanations about the main items.
Use the IMPORT button (the top leftmost as shown below) of the language Learning Assistant to import the compressed file (travel.ibf)
containing the Traveller's Companion course:
This is what the course looks like when it is loaded:
For details on how to operate the program, please look HERE.
1. The dollar sign causes the word which follows immediately (until a space is met) to be silenced. *
2. As explained in 1. above, the When? is silenced by the preceding dollar. But this represents the language as it should be correctly written.
The following [wen.] in square brackets does NOT represent the language as it should be correctly written: this is a representation which
merely helps the synthesizer say it correctly.
There is another example in the Portuguese version on the right, near the bottom. The words preceded by dollar sign represent the text
as it should be correctly written, and what is in square brackets just helps the synthesizer say it correctly.
3. The full stop in square brackets is used extensively throughout. It tells the synthesizer to say the sentence with a descending intonation
at the end rather than an ascending one, even though the sentence is actually a question.
4. The initial hyphen causes the entire line to be muted.
* Unfortunately, this does not work when the word following the dollar sign contains an accented letter.
5a. In the "QUESTION" dialogues of the course, the letters "A", "B", etc. are used to identify the personalities participating in the previous
conversations. The general function of the included comma (e.g. as in "A,") is simply to provide a pause in order to make the sentence
sound more natural. However, in English specifically, the comma also causes the letter to be pronounced as a letter of the alphabet,
rather than as an inappropriate sound such as the "a" in the word "bat".
5b. In Portuguese, the comma included in "A," simply provides a pause. It is not necessary to force the pronunciation of the alphabet for
the letter, because the alphabetic pronunciation does not differ from the pronunciation of "a" used as a common vowel within words.
Please accept my apologies for the one or two example like the above in the Portuguese. Because of the problem described above of being unable to
silence a word with a preceding dollar sign when that word contains a letter with an accent, I was unable to represent the true spelling of the original
word, i.e. it would be better to represent the (silent) spelling of the sentence like this:-
$Como $está $você $Paulo?
- but I was forced to indicate this by saying (in Portuguese) "esta with an accent on the a" and "voce with an accent on the e" afterwards. Not very
satisfactory, I know...
Choose your preferred varieties of
English and Portuguese in the