Fisher Levantine Arabic Conversational Telephone Speech, Transcripts

Item Name: Fisher Levantine Arabic Conversational Telephone Speech, Transcripts
Authors: Mohamed Maamouri (Project head), Tim Buckwalter, David Graff, Hubert Jin (author)
LDC Catalog No.: LDC2007T04
ISBN: 1-58563-411-5
Release Date: Mar 16, 2007
Data Type: text
Data Source(s): telephone conversations
Project(s): GALE
Language(s): Levantine Arabic, North Levantine Arabic, South Levantine Arabic
Language ID(s): ajp, apc
Distribution: Web Download
Member fee: $0 for 2007 members
Non-member Fee: US $3000.00
Reduced-License Fee: US $1500.00
Extra-Copy Fee: N/A
Online documentation: yes
Licensing Instructions: Subscription & Standard Members, and Non-Members
Citation: Mohamed Maamouri (Project head), et al.
Fisher Levantine Arabic Conversational Telephone Speech, Transcripts
Linguistic Data Consortium, Philadelphia


Levantine Arabic is spoken along the western Mediterranean coast from Anatolia to the Sinai Peninsula and encompasses the local dialects of Lebanon, Syria and Palestine. There are two distinct varieties: Northern, centered around Syria and Lebanon and Southern, spoken in Jordan and Palestine. Northern Levantine Arabic speakers include approximately 8.8 million speakers in Syria and 6 million speakers in Lebanon. Southern Levantine Arabic speakers include approximately 3.5 million speakers in Jordan, 1.6 million speakers in Palestine and nearly one million speakers in Israel.

Fisher Levantine Arabic Conversational Telephone Speech, Transcripts contains transcripts for 279 telephone conversations. The majority of the speakers are from Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine. The corresponding telephone speech is contained in Fisher Levantine Arabic Conversational Telephone Speech.

Speaker Distribution by Region
Jordan 60%
Palestine 15%
Lebanon 15%
Syria 8%
other 2%

The Fisher telephone conversation collection protocol was createdat LDC to address a critical need of developers trying to build robustautomatic speech recognition (ASR) systems. Previous collectionprotocols, such as CALLFRIEND and Switchboard-II and the resultingcorpora, have been adapted for ASR research but were in fact developedfor language and speaker identification respectively. Although theCALLHOME protocol and corpora were developed to support ASRtechnology, they feature small numbers of speakers making telephonecalls of relatively long duration with narrow vocabulary across thecollection. CALLHOME conversations are challengingly natural andintimate. Under the Fisher protocol, a very large number ofparticipants each make a few calls of short duration speaking to otherparticipants, whom they typically do not know, about assignedtopics. This maximizes inter-speaker variation and vocabulary breadthalthough it also increases formality.

Previous protocols such as CALLHOME, CALLFRIEND and Switchboardrelied upon participant activity to drive the collection. Fisher isunique in being platform driven rather than participantdriven. Participants who wish to initiate a call may do so howeverthe collection platform initiates the majority of calls. Participantsneed only answer their phones at the times they specified whenregistering for the study.

To encourage a broad range of vocabulary, Fisher participants areasked to speak on an assigned topic which is selected at random from alist, which changes every 24 hours and which is assigned to allsubjects paired on that day. Some topics are inherited or refined fromprevious Switchboard studies while others were developed specificallyfor the Fisher protocol.


The transcripts were created with green and yellow layers using LDCs Multi-Dialectal Transcription Tool (AMADAT). The green layer seeks to anchor dialectal forms to similar or related Modern Standard Arabic orothgraphy-based forms. The yellow layer is a more careful and detailed transcription that adds functionally necessary vowels and marks important sociolinguistic variations and morphophonemic features.

The green-layer transcripts in this corpus are a subset of the transcripts contained in Levantine Arabic QT Training Data Set 5, Transcripts, LDC2006T07. The yellow-layer transcription was added in this release.


For an example of the text contained in this corpus, please view this image of the transcriptions (jpeg format).

Content Copyright

Portions 2003-2007 Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania