Liberal Arts Career Services
Liberal Arts Career Services

UT Austin Texas English Project

Spring 2013 Site Review

Position: Social Research Intern
Student: English Senior

As a social research intern on language variation and change in Texas, I was tasked with analyzing and editing vowel formant measurements for the Texas English Project. My supervisor and mentor throughout the internship was Dr. Lars Hinrichs, Professor of English at The University of Texas at Austin, and director of the project. The Texas English Project began at UT in 2008 as a way for the English Department to engage the Texas community and shed light on the ways in which Texas speech is evolving. “Our work combines social and linguistic theory with innovative digital research technology to create a repository of data, findings, and reports on Texas English. When completed, the Texas English Project will provide both an interactive public showcase for video and audio documentaries about Texas English dialects and a professional digital archive for linguistic research,” explains Dr. Hinrichs.

My typical day would begin with an afternoon meeting with Dr. Hinrichs and another team member at Parlin Hall on the UT campus. We would discuss the status of our individual assignments, and then evaluate ways in which we could integrate our work into the larger goal of adding to the rich database of measured speech files. These meetings were great opportunities for all of us to report and resolve any issues that we may be having with the data we were editing, or the software we were using to conduct our work. After the meetings, I would go over recorded speech files, edit existing speech measurements, and prepare the data for future steps in the process. These aspects of the work were conducted on my laptop using various software applications designed to record and digitize vowel formants. As an English major and native Texan, I found the work very interesting, and I relished the opportunity to contribute to this fascinating study.

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    University of Texas at Austin
    FAC 18
    2304 Whitis Ave. Stop G6200
    Austin, Texas 78712-1508