That’s when in France in the train stations they implemented the voice synthesis solution of France Télécom, just devised in Lannion. Instead of constructing the utterances from separate phonemes, they constructed the utterances from what they called “diphones” which were centering on the articulation points between two phonemes. I had the opportunity to discuss this technical invention with the engineers who devised it. They refused to call it an invention. I hope France Telecom had it patented. But the linguists who should have caught the importance of this invention should have realized that this changes phonetics completely. What is important is not the separate phonemes but the points of articulation between them. Then you get a very fluent discourse. Of course, they started with an actress but they analyzed her language, her recordings in diphones and not phonemes. In the train company in France, they still call their station voice Simone, the first name of the actress.

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Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, PhD in Germanic Linguistics (University Lille III) and ESP Teaching (University Bordeaux II) has been teaching all types of ESP

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