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People Find Many Uses For Archived Accents

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By Ginger Moored

Armenian, Bengali, and Icelandic are just a few of the accents archived online by researchers at George Mason University. Many people are putting the audio archive to use.

For a link to the audio archive visit wamu.org. Click on "News."

There’s Bosnian.

"Please call Stella. Ask her to bring these things with her from the store."

Zulu.

"Six spoons of fresh snow peas, five thick slabs of bleu cheese."

Virginian.

"And maybe a snack for her brother Bob."

These are three of the 1,200 accents collected by George Mason professor Steven Weinberger. He uses them to study linguistics, but other people have discovered his online archive too.

"Actors use our archive to learn their parts, speech pathologists use it," says Weinberger.

And some people use it for less professional reasons.

"Mostly it’s just regular people who probably play drinking games. You can find ringtones online that start out ‘please call Stella,' he says.

Weinberger welcomes submissions to his website. So far he’s archived speakers of about 300 languages, but Weinberger says there are more than 5,000 left to record.

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