March 24, 2004


John Pasden at Sinosplice has a nice Flash soundboard exhibiting Shanghainese vs. Mandarin words and phrases. As John points out, soundboards are best known for their role in generating the fake side of prank phone calls (here or here, for example), or other jokes such as this Mohamed Said Sahaf soundboard. His application shows that jokes are not the only use for such things. Jokes are fine, of course -- I myself am looking forward to the conversation between the George Lakoff soundboard and the Noam Chomsky soundboard.

Anyhow, to facilitate the more serious use of the technology -- in language instruction or in speech generation for the handicapped -- it would be nice to write a "soundboard generator" that would let people create such programs easily: Flash ActionScript has become a decent programming language, but this class of applications could easily be generated by a much simpler "little language", since it is mainly just a matter of text layout and audio links.

Posted by Mark Liberman at March 24, 2004 08:04 AM