A Linguist’s Dream: The Speech Accent Archive
George Mason University has developed a thorough compilation of English accents online at their Speech Accent Archive. The site asks for a participant in the study to read a standardized elicitation paragraph and upload the recording. In addition to audio samples of each accent, the Speech Accent Archive keeps track of biographical and regional data. Each clip has a readout of the sample paragraph next to the phonetic transcription.
In a quick browse of their speakers, I found everything from a Yiddish to a Mortlockese accent. This relatively simple idea has provided a structure for a unique set of data. In addition to being a fun site to casually explore, it provides a resource for speech pathologists, actors learning an accent or even engineers training speech recognition machines. If that wasn’t enough, all the files are released under a Creative Commons License.