Digital Archive of Southern Speech

Item Name: Digital Archive of Southern Speech
Author(s): William A. Kretzschmar Jr., Paulina Bounds, Jacqueline Hettel, Steven Coats, Lee Pederson, Lisa Lena Opas-Hänninen, Ilkka Juuso, Tapio Seppänen
LDC Catalog No.: LDC2012S03
ISBN: 1-58563-605-3
ISLRN: 167-450-243-260-2
Release Date: February 15, 2012
Member Year(s): 2012
DCMI Type(s): Sound
Sample Type: pcm, mpeg
Sample Rate: 48000, 16000
Data Source(s): field recordings
Project(s): Linguistic Atlas Project
Application(s): discourse analysis, sociolinguistics
Language(s): English
Language ID(s): eng
License(s): Digital Archive of Southern Speech For-Profit Member Agreement
LDC User Agreement for Non-Members
Online Documentation: LDC2012S03 Documents
Licensing Instructions: Subscription & Standard Members, and Non-Members
Citation: Kretzschmar Jr., William A., et al. Digital Archive of Southern Speech LDC2012S03. Hard Drive. Philadelphia: Linguistic Data Consortium, 2012.
Related Works: View


Digital Archive of Southern Speech (DASS) was developed by the University of Georgia. It is a subset of the Linguistic Atlas of the Gulf States (LAGS), which is in turn part of the Linguistic Atlas Project (LAP). DASS contains approximately 370 hours of English speech data from 30 female speakers and 34 male speakers in .wav format and in .mp3 format, along with associated metadata about the speakers and the recordings and maps in .jpeg format relating to the recording locations.

LAP consists of a set of survey research projects about the words and pronunciation of everyday American English, the largest project of its kind in the United States. Interviews with thousands of native speakers across the country have been carried out since 1929. LAGS surveyed the everyday speech of Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas in a series of 914 audio-taped interviews conducted from 1968-1983. Interviews average approximately six hours in length the systematic LAGS tape archive amounts to 5500 hours of sound recordings. DASS is a collection of 64 interviews from LAGS selected to cover a range of speech across the region and to represent multiple education levels and ethnic backgrounds.

This release is distributed on an external hard drive and contains instructions for using the media and navigating to the LICHEN program.

Digital Archive of Southern Speech - NLP Version (LDC2016S05), an alternate version suitable for natural language processing and human language technology applications is also available.


The DASS speakers average age is 61 years there are 30 women and 34 men from the Gulf States region represented in this release. The interviews cover common topics such as family, the weather, household articles and activities, agriculture and social connections.

The interviews were originally recorded in the field on reel-to-reel audio tape. A digital version of every reel of tape was then made, one .wav file per reel, usually about one hour of sound. Each interview thus consists of a set of 3 to 13 reels, or roughly 3 to 13 interview hours. Personally identifying or sensitive information in the files was replaced with a tone to protect the privacy and to assure ethical treatment of speakers. Each .wav file is split into multiple .mp3 files based on the topic of conversation and labeled thusly. Included spreadsheets provide information about the speakers, the labels used for topics and the sound files.

Also included in this release is a version of the LICHEN software developed at the University of Oulu, Finland. LICHEN allows users to browse and search through the audio data in a more advanced fashion using a graphical interface. Further information and instructions for LICHEN can be found within the docs folder of this release.


None at this time.


For an example of the data contained in this corpus, review this audio sample.


The following people were involved with the DASS project:

William A. Kretzschmar, Jr., Paulina Bounds, Jacqueline Hettel and Steven Coats University of Georgia

Lee Pederson Emory University

Lisa Lena Opas-Hänninen, Ilkka Juuso and Tapio Seppänen University of Oulu (Finland)


The Atlas Data contained herein comprises information collected in the period spanning from the 1930s to 2010 and has been compiled from diverse sources, by, and under the direction of, Dr. William A. Kretzschmar, Harry and Jane Wilson Professor in Humanities at the Department of English of The University of Georgia.

Compilation and digitalization of this work was funded, in part, by the US National Science Foundation and by the US National Endowment for the Humanities.

Additional information about the Atlas Project can be obtained at

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