A RESEARCH team has unveiled a new series of ultrasound recordings of people speaking Gaelic, shedding light on the different ways in which people use their tongues during speech.

Led by Lancaster University, the team made video recording of people’s tongues while they spoke both Gaelic and Western Isles English in order to investigate which movements are used to create sounds for specific consonants.

Researchers were able to then use ultrasound to produce a side-profile image of the tongue inside the mouth mid-speech.

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Now accessible at a new website called Teangannan na Gàidhlig (Gaelic Tongues) the recordings are the first of their kind made publicly available. And on top of that, a selection of the videos are now available in a new section of Seeing Speech, a website dedicated to videos of speech sounds created by speech and language experts at the Glasgow University and Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh.

The research presents full speed and slow-motion ultrasound videos featuring a selection of Gaelic “l”, “n” and “r” sounds, and videos of English “l” and “r” sounds were made for comparison.

Gaelic “l”, “n” and “r” sounds are fairly atypical compared to other languages as there are three variations for each of the sounds.

The project was led by Lancaster University’s Dr Claire Nance alongside Dr Sam Kirkham and the videos were made by the university’s Dr Di Wang with support from Dr Eleanor Lawson of Queen Margaret University.

Nance said: “These recordings give a fascinating view inside the mouth while people are speaking.

The research was led by a team from Lancaster University

“It’s really important to understand the details of Gaelic speech sounds so that we can support Gaelic learning and teaching and document the language.

“We would like to thank BBC Alba, BBC Radio nan Gàidheal, and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, who have all helped us collect the data.”