Anyone remember the distorted speech clip on FB or YouTube?

A while back, there was a recording doing the rounds - can’t remember if it was actually a video or just a sound clip - with someone speaking but with so much distortion you couldn’t understand what they were saying - then the sentence they said was explained, and you heard them again, and it was comprehensible - despite having the same level of distortion.

I really must develop a habit of linking to things like this so I don’t lose them!

I know we’ve got some brilliant ‘find stuff’ people on the forum - if any of you can crack this one, I’ll be very firmly in your debt… :star2:

There was a Radio 4 programme a month or so ago which included something about EVP, electronic voice phenonemon. Distorted recordings were played that sounded like nothing intelligible, but then they told us what someone had heard it as, then they replayed it and you could not help but hear the suggested words. The gist of it seemed to be debunking the paranormal aspect of it and placing it more in the inner workings of our brains - far more interesting I think. Search youtube for evp, though of course the paranormal prevails.

That does sound like a similar thing - and helped lead me to refinding the McGurk effect, which is fun (and revealing about the hiccups people have between b/f/d/dd in our sessions!):

Still can’t find the distortion one I’m looking for [bites nails in frustration].

Ooh, ooh, found it! :sunrise_over_mountains:

Thanks for inspiring me to look again, Polly! :sunny:

What we hear is not what we actually hear but brain’s interpretation of the audio input. So the result is not really surprising. On the first run there’s no data to interpret the sounds. But on the second? Now there is data to use to interpret.

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Which has very interesting implications for how we can train ourselves to understand a new language… :sunny:

Now I have to go watch Star Wars again and see if I can figure out what R2D2 is really saying.


Oliver Postgate used to tell a story about how the Clangers’ voices used to whistle to the tone and time of real words. If you see the scripts and then follow the ‘dialog’ you can see that this is true. At one point it was possible to buy a Clangers toy with a built in recorded whistle. By pure fluke, the designers of the toy had sampled the only incident from the entire series where one of the Clangers had uttered a swear ‘word’. :laughing:


I had the good fortune to pop down to his house where Oliver created a lot of his stuff, in an outdoor shed,
Robert. It was really fascinating seeing bits of cardboard, that magically came to life on the t.v screen.
Halcyon days - the Clangers, Noggin the Nog…Ivor the Engine.

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Oh, well, I’ve “understood” the sentence right after they played normal speach version and then distorted again, but when presenter spoke to explain and then played that distorted thingy again it sounded to me like the time I’ve first herd it and didn’t understand it anymore.

This should be explaining my constant moaning about my memory I have now and then on twitter about that I just ca’t remember long sentences and words said in English in lessons so I always say longer sentences or words wrong in Welsh.

Now I know …: :slight_smile: my brains are not using previous infos to make new one too well. - LOL

As you probably know, whistling languages are a real thing on this planet- the most famous being that of the Canary islands. I know nothing, but apparently they imitate the spoken language in a similar way.

here’s a link to a Time clip about the whistled language of the Canary islands
(and I’ve only just realised that that last sentence has probably made most people who haven’t heard of it think it is an out of season April Fool’s Joke…)

and from Wikipedia (I know, I know, but the quote seems very relevant to this thread!)

“Generally, whistled languages emulate the tones or vowel formants of a natural spoken language, as well as aspects of its intonation and prosody, so that trained listeners who speak that language can understand the encoded message. English speakers experience something similar when they listen to sine-wave speech.”

(ooh, links to Youtube just embed themselves automatically…)


So Aran, are you thinking of video clips for us to ‘hear’ what is said in the lessons?

It’s crossed my mind from time to time, although it looks like a fairly large can of worms - for now, I think the lesson content stuff is a good safety net, and I’ll try to think about ways to highlight some of the key stuff for people who don’t read the lesson contents… :sunny:

(re: Clangers): I have also heard a story - and it may have come from Postgate himself, or a collaborator, that a lot of the words in the scripts were in fact naughty ones, but of course, the audience never heard them. :slight_smile:

(If it’s not true, then it ought to be. :slight_smile: )

On the subject of the brain trying to make sense of sounds, I’ve often had the slightly odd experience of coming back from a country where English isn’t spoken, and then once back home, say in a supermarket or any place where there are a lot of people around, but you aren’t talking directly to them, trying to interpret what they say as being in the language of the country you have just left (and failing, of course).

This may also happen to people to some extent after 7 days of Bootcamp brain-stretching. :slight_smile: