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Transcription of a spoken text for corpus-linguistic research can also be made
at different levels. We will present here the proposal developed by
French (1992) adopted by the NERC consortium. This system
consists of four levels, numbered from one to four. Each successive level
detail in the transcription, allowing several levels of detail according
to different needs in particular types of research.
- Level I
- consists in the orthographic representation with minimal
punctuation and without interactional information, so that change of speakers
is not marked. The description of Level I includes conventions for
orthographic representations and for punctuation.
- Level II
- is an enhanced orthographic representation with basic
information about speaker identity, turn-taking, and non-verbal elements.
- Level III
- contains all the information included in Level II plus extra
intonational and interactional information. Tone unit boundaries and tonic
syllables are marked, precise identification of overlap onset and resolution
are included. According to French (1992), transcription at this level needs to
be done by trained phoneticians and a recording of substantial quality is
- Level IV
- is the most detailed level of transcription. It includes all
information present in Level III plus additional intonational codings and
acoustic and phonetic information. Tones, head syllables and a phonemic
transcription are aligned with a digital representation of the wave form
accompanied by a fundamental frequency tracing and a spectrogram of the
utterances. A further possibility for this level would include tagging.