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: Structure of the Published TIMIT Corpus: The CD-ROM contains doc, train, and test directories at the top level; the train and test directories both have 8 sub-directories, one per dialect region; each of these contains further subdirectories, one per speaker; the contents of the directory for female speaker A fourth feature of TIMIT is the hierarchical structure of the corpus.

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TIMIT illustrates several key features of corpus design.These are organized into a tree structure, shown schematically in 1.2.At the top level there is a split between training and testing sets, which gives away its intended use for developing and evaluating statistical models.TIMIT was developed by a consortium including Texas Instruments and MIT, from which it derives its name.It was designed to provide data for the acquisition of acoustic-phonetic knowledge and to support the development and evaluation of automatic speech recognition systems.This last observation is less surprising when we consider that text and record structures are the primary domains for the two subfields of computer science that focus on data management, namely text retrieval and databases.

A notable feature of linguistic data management is that usually brings both data types together, and that it can draw on results and techniques from both fields.

The inclusion of speaker demographics brings in many more independent variables, that may help to account for variation in the data, and which facilitate later uses of the corpus for purposes that were not envisaged when the corpus was created, such as sociolinguistics.

A third property is that there is a sharp division between the original linguistic event captured as an audio recording, and the annotations of that event.

Finally, notice that even though TIMIT is a speech corpus, its transcriptions and associated data are just text, and can be processed using programs just like any other text corpus.

Therefore, many of the computational methods described in this book are applicable.

Moreover, even at a given level there may be different labeling schemes or even disagreement amongst annotators, such that we want to represent multiple versions.