Phonologics emerged from several decades of R&D in phonology. It began in 1995 when Dr. Linda Ferrier, Department of Speech Pathology & Audiology, Northeastern University walked into the office of Dr. Joel MacAuslan who had just founded Speech Technology and Applied Research Corp. (S.T.A.R.) to perform scientific research in speech-related technologies for commercial innovations.
Knowledge-Based Speech Analysis
The idea was to use the emerging techniques of knowledge-based speech analysis (KBSA) for infant speech assessment. The two began a collaboration that soon developed into another opportunity: assessments of intelligibility, especially for international teaching assistants (ITAs). Prof. Ferrier’s interest stemmed from her many years’ experience screening ITAs “manually” before recommending them for teaching, and had developed a test for the purpose, since low intelligibility of ITAs had long been one of the strongest complaints that undergraduates made to university administrators.
The two realized that the new paradigm of KBSA offered the potential to construct an expert system to automate the assessments that Dr. Ferrier had been making. Such a system, an Automated Pronunciation Screening Test (APST), would be useful not only for academic environments – but in commercially testing far larger groups of non-native speakers, who must speak intelligibly in order to perform their jobs. In 1998, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded Prof. Ferrier and Dr. MacAuslan the first research phase of project funding. Later projects not only refined the KBSA algorithms but further developed the APST software to a point where it is now ready for commercialization.
In developing the Automated Pronunciation Screening Test (APST), Phonologics’ core team brought extensive experience in:
- Linguistics (specifically pronunciation, accents, phonology
- Signal processing and algorithm development
- English as a Second Language (ESL) training
- Software development and technology
- Human-machine interaction
The intellectual foundations for APST’s algorithms grew out of the manually-scored test platform developed by Prof. Ferrier, a field-leading linguist. APST radically innovates the model and methodology by which speech intelligibility has previously been determined. Technologically, APST is built upon knowledge-based speech analysis (KBSA), physics and acoustics, and the physiology of human speech production, modification, and enhancement.
Location and Team
Phonologics is a Delaware C corporation, founded in February, 2012, with headquarters at 54 Middlesex Turnpike, Bedford, MA 01730. Phonologics was started by a highly knowledgeable and experienced core group of employees (see Our Phonologics Team) as well as highly experienced independent contractors from both academia and the commercial world.