- 115,00 kr
‘A lively, intelligent and persuasive history of speech...Expertly and patiently explained’ The Times
Why are human beings the only animals that can speak? And why does it matter?
If you’ve ever felt the shock of listening to a recording of your own voice, you realise how important your voice is to your personal identity. We judge others – and whether we trust them – not just by their words but by the way they talk: their intonation, their pitch, their accent.
Now You’re Talking explores the full range of our voice – how we speak and how we sing; how our vocal anatomy works; what happens when things go wrong; and how technology enables us to imitate and manipulate the human voice.
Trevor Cox talks to vocal coaches who help people to develop their new voice after a gender transition; to record producers whose use of technology has transformed the singing voice; and to computer scientists who replicate the human voice in their development of artificial intelligence.
Beginning with the Neanderthals, Now You’re Talking takes us all the way to the digital age – with the frightening prospect that we may soon hear ‘Unexpected item in the bagging area’ more frequently than a friendly ‘Hello, how are you?’ in the street.
British acoustic engineer Cox (The Sound Book) channels his enthusiasm about the wonders of sound and the possibilities of artificial intelligence into a slow-building essay collection. "Being able to speak is what makes us human," Cox writes, before excitedly moving through a miscellany of topics related to the evolutionary development of hearing, innovations in amplifying and recording technology, and evolutionary and cultural responses to accents and other distinguishing features of human speech. The chapter "My Voice Is Me" looks at social factors behind speech characteristics, such as the registers women speak in and speech patterns related to sexual identity. Cox is at his best when discussing where speech and technology overlap, as with his examination of how talking robots capture incidental data from tone-of-voice commands in order to more effectively mimic human speech. The final chapter, one of the book's finest, deals with computer programs that can construct and recite love poems. Cox proves an affable guide, and his sharp history will give casual science buffs a lot to talk about.