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COMPUTERS TO GET 'PATTER' LESSONS.

Byline: HEATHER RAMSAY

BOFFINS have launched a hunt for Glaswegians to teach computers their local "patter".

For years Glasgow accents have baffled speech recognition software.

That results in embarrassing errors for firms which use computers instead of human phone operators.

But now experts at Birmingham University need the help of 20 Glaswegians to develop software that understands the west coast twang. Prof Martin Russell said: "The Glasgow accent is heard a lot on television these days - but it causes problems for computers.

"Speech software caters only for speakers of standard southern English and fails to take regional variations into account."

Speech recognition software is often used in phone banking. Researchers say Glasgow, Belfast and Cornwall are the most mis- understood accents in the UK. Glasgow comic Andy Cameron blamed computers and humans for not listening properly.

He said: "The Glasgow accent is easy to understand if you take the trouble to listen to it.

"English people complain about Rab C Nesbitt and High Road, but we understand shows from all over the UK with different accents."

Auditions will be held at the Mitchell Theatre next week.
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Feb 20, 2003
Words:186
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