The ABAIR Team
There are eight people currently working on the ABAIR team. The team comprises a large set of skills that range from phonetics, speech technology, liguistics and computational linguistics, education and computer assisted language learning (CALL) to programming.
Prof. Ailbhe Ní Chasaide
Associate Professor in Phonetics
Ailbhe Ní Chasaide was raised in Luinneach in Gaoth Dobhair, in the Donegal Gaeltacht. She has a B.A. in German and French from University College Galway and a Maitrise from the Université de Bordeaux. She earned a Ph.D. in linguistics at Bangor University in Wales. As the principal investigator of the project, Ailbhe is involved in all aspects of the project. She is phonetician, and she is responsible in particular for the aspects of the project that concern phonetics and the sound system of Irish, including corpus design, recording, and phonetisation. She is interested in the prosody of Irish, in emotional prosody, and in the use of synthesis in education and in accessibility applications.
Dr. Christer Gobl
Lecturer in Speech Science
Christer Gobl is one of the two co-principal investigators of the project. He received an M.Sc. in Electrical Engineering from the Royal Institute of Technology, KTH, Stockholm, and his Ph.D. in Speech Communication was also carried out at KTH, at the Department of Speech, Music and Hearing. He is a speech scientist whose main research interests concern the acoustics of speech production, with particular focus on the modelling of the human voice and of its functions in spoken communication. Linked to this, he has worked extensively with speech synthesis and signal processing. In this project he is directing the development of the speech engine to improve the quality of the voice. A further goal is to make the speech engine more flexible, tackling a major problem with unit selection synthesis. A more flexible speech engine should eventually allow us to generate different voices from a single corpus, as well as to produce more expressive speech.
Dr. Elaine Uí Dhonnchadha
Lecturer in Computational Linguistics
Elaine Uí Dhonnchadha is one of the two co-principal investigators of the project. After earning a B.Sc. from Dublin City University in Computer Applications, she went to work for several years as an analyst/computer. In the mid 90's, she started to work at the Linguistics Institute of Ireland, where she became interested in the computer processing of Irish and in linguistics. She played a central role in the development of a corpus of contemporary Irish texts. She has a particular interest in the development of annotated corpora and in processing tools for Irish such as text tokenisers, morphological analysers and generators, part-of-speech taggers, chunkers and parsers for Irish. Tools of this kind will allow us to use syntactic and morphological information at different stages of the text processing.
John Duggan was born and raised at the seaside in Co. Mayo. He studied Computer Engineering in the University of Limerick. He started working at Trinity College in 1988 and then earned a B.Sc. (Computer Science). For this project, he is responsible for the server configuration, and his work involves the recording studio, hardware and software issues, and Linux and Microsoft support.
Harald Berthelsen was born in the woods of Värmland, Sweden, but has lived in Stockholm since the age of 4, with stretches of time spent in Ireland. He studied Irish at Gael Linn and Club Chonradh na Gaeilge in 1979, then at Uppsala University with professor Ailbhe Ó Corráin. He earned a degree in computational linguistics at Stockholm University. Harald is responsible for all the computer programming involved in building the Irish voices, and contributes extensively to the linguistic aspects of the project as well.
Neasa Ní Chiaráin
Neasa Ní Chiaráin got her primary and secondary level education exclusively through the medium of Irish, before she went to Dublin City University where she graduated in Applied Computational Linguistics with German as her major subject. She has also a keen interest in French. In 2007, she received an M.Sc. in Cognitive Science from University College Dublin, with language acquisition as her major research topic. Since 2010 she also holds a postgraduate diploma in translation and editing (Dioplóma Iarchéime san Aistriúchán agus san Eagarthóireacht) from NUI Maynooth. At present, her major research topics are the use of technology as regards the acquisition and promotion of the Irish language. She has been a member of the abair.ie team since 2009 and is currently working on a Ph.D. thesis.
Christoph Wendler (M.A.)
Christoph Wendler is originally from Munich, Bavaria, in the south of Germany. He holds an M.A. in German and English linguistics from the University of Munich. He spent a year (2008–2009) working on the project “An Foclóir Nua Béarla-Gaeilge”, the new English-Irish dictionary. During that time he prepared the digital corpus of Irish for lexicographers working on the new dictionary. The work was directed by Dr Elaine Uí Dhonnchadha from Trinity College, Dublin. Christoph has been a member of the abair.ie team since 2009. He has a background in software development and text processing. He is responsible for various aspects of the project that range from recording native speakers to enhancing the synthesiser and the Web site.
Andy Murphy (M.Phil.)
Andy Murphy received his B.A. in Physics and Chemistry of Advanced Materials from Trinity College Dublin in 2010. He then decided to pursue a more creative path by completing an M. Phil. in Music and Media Technologies where he developed software for use in musical composition. He also followed his interest in studying the singing voice, with a focus on overtone singing. He has been working as part of the ABAIR team since 2013, training and improving the naturalness of the HTS voices. He is currently working towards a Ph.D. that involves developing a flexible vocoder for statistical parametric speech synthesis.