Lip-reading computer picks out your language
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Date posted: 30/04/2009
Posted by: Site Administration
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Linguists have long suspected that our sequences of lip shapes and lip motions vary strongly with the language we speak, but nobody had put it to the test.

So Stephen Cox and his colleagues at UEA asked 21 people, each fluent in two or three languages that included Polish, Russian, French, German, English, Arabic, Mandarin, Cantonese and Italian, to read to camera the first 16 articles of the UN Declaration of Human Rights - in all the tongues in which they were proficient. The team then used a facial recognition system to track how the volunteers' lips moved and the sequences of shapes they formed, and used statistical analysis to learn which sequences were telltale signs of a particular language being spoken.

They found they were easily able to tell one language from another - even in people who spoke very fast. "We found frequent 'lip-rounding' among French speakers and more prominent tongue movements among Arabic speakers," says Cox.

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