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Introduction to Speech Analysis

This course offers a general picture of managing speech corpora and the methods available for the acoustic-phonetic study of speech. During the course, students use a speech analysis program called Praat and learn to apply the program's main features in their work with speech recordings. In addition, students will learn the basics of another program called ELAN that can be used for transcribing and annotating audio and video material.

The same (or similar) contents are offered in Finnish and English.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, learners will be able to:
  • Identify methods for the acoustic-phonetic study of speech
  • Use Praat to record speech
  • Use ELAN to transcribe and annotate audio and video material

Author(s): Mietta Lennes

Department of Digital Humanities / FIN-CLARIN and Kielipankki – the Language Bank of Finland
Faculty of Humanities, University of Helsinki
Helsinki, Finland

Description of the Training Materials

(Sub)discipline, topic, language(s) Phonetics, Linguistics
Speech Analysis
Finnish and English
Keywords phonetics, acoustic phonetics, speech analysis, research methods
Course URL
CLARIN resources

Praat, ELAN, VLO, Kielipankki – The Language Bank of Finland, Route to A wing Corpus 

Structure and duration

The course is divided into six lessons, each of which is intended to be completed in about one week. The pace is relatively free for the student. The published material consists of background readings, videos, and practical exercises that lead the student through various topics.

The materials can be used for self-study and completed independently. They can also be embedded into other courses, or students may choose to participate in one of the online instances of the Introduction to Speech Analysis course offered by FIN-CLARIN via the University of Helsinki.

The aforementioned online course runs on Moodle once a year, and participants are accepted from the University of Helsinki and other universities within CLARIN if space allows. Via Moodle, additional links, materials, quizzes and submitted assignments are additionally distributed – these are not included in the present learning material.

In the most recent implementations of the course, the students must submit a learning diary each week. An online discussion forum has been used for communications, and regular teacher(s) feedback is needed to run the course successfully.

Target audience

Students and researchers of languages and linguistics or any other fields where speech data needs to be studied, transcribed, annotated and analyzed.

The course is not suitable for visually impaired students.

Facilities required A computer where Praat and ELAN can be installed, with a possibility for audio playback (headphones recommended). Equipment for recording sound is recommended but not required.

Course material: six lessons, including background readings, videos and exercises.

Course(s) in which the training material was used

KIK-LG212. Introduction to Speech Analysis (5 ECTS)

LDA-P302. Speech analysis methods (5 ECTS)

Licence and (re)use All contents are published under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International.
Creation date

2004: Publication of the original Finnish 'Praat guide' on a regular website

31.5.2015: Creation date of the first version of the Finnish course material (update to the original 'Praat guide')

30.11.2020: Major update; the first version of the English translations completed

30.6.2021: Both language versions are published under open license via

Last modification date Please see the resource for the latest modification date.

Experience with Using CLARIN Resources in Teaching

The original “Praat guide” was published in 2004 in Finnish and is now available via Zenodo: Lennes, Mietta. (2004). Praat-opas: HTML-versio 0.8 ja PDF-versio 1.0 (Version v0.8). Zenodo.

Since the Finnish version of the Introduction to Speech Analysis course was already well established, I decided in 2020 that it was time to translate the contents into English to serve the non-Finnish-speaking students at the University of Helsinki. I completed the translations on a very tight schedule during the autumn of 2020, but the translated course seems to work now. Next autumn, we will run the course in parallel in Finnish and in English together with my colleague Juraj Šimko.

I have been teaching this and several other online courses for many years. The language resources available via the CLARIN infrastructure are very important for my teaching. It is vital that the same materials are persistently available and that they can be cited consistently. I try to teach first-year students to search for corpora and other resources that can be relevant to them via CLARIN platforms, and the more advanced students can benefit from tools, good practices and guidelines that help them to process and make available the resources they create. Praat and ELAN have been around for a long time, and teachers can be confident they will remain accessible in the coming years. University students need good examples of reproducibility, scientific references and citation practices for both tools and data since these will be the building blocks they will work with in the future.


Download Information

Lennes, Mietta. (2021, September 14). Puheen analyysin perusteet – Introduction to Speech Analysis. Zenodo.

Additional Information and Resources

This is my first time experimenting with the Finnish Library of Open Educational Resources. The platform is quite functional already, and the learning objects' metadata are harvested to service, where one can search from hundreds of Finnish libraries, archives and other organisations simultaneously. The only piece still missing is a convenient way of creating a persistent citation to individual resources, but I am under the impression that this is forthcoming.

I tend to make changes and update my materials quite frequently, usually just before and during each run of the course. Teachers need to select a good place to keep the 'master copy' of their materials since the content can be reliably and efficiently maintained on only one platform. We need tools and practices for referencing between different platforms and for embedding the required version of a given piece of content. Version control and easy citation are even more important than you might think at first, especially when the material is published under an open license.


Cite this Work

Lennes, Mietta (2021).Introduction to Speech Analysis (Puheen analyysin perusteet) [Online course material]. Available at:

Contact Information

Teachers who reuse and adapt this training material are invited to share their feedback via training [at] (training[at]clarin[dot]eu)