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* What is SLAAP?

* Wait, is it SLAAP or NCSLAAP?

* What is in the SLAAP archive?

* Why isn't more of the archive transcribed?

* Who can use SLAAP? How can I access the archive?

* How do I learn more about SLAAP?

* What happened to the old webpages about SLAAP?

What is SLAAP?

The Sociolinguistic Archive and Analysis Project (SLAAP) is a research and preservation initiative being conducted at North Carolina State University as a collaboration between the North Carolina Language and Life Project (NCLLP) and the North Carolina State University Libraries. (For more information about the NCLLP see

In brief, SLAAP has two core goals: (1) to preserve and enhance the usability of the sociolinguistic recordings of the NCLLP and other sociolinguists through the digitization and web-based delivery of audio recordings; and (2) to enable and explore new computer-enhanced techniques for sociolinguistic analysis.

Wait, is it SLAAP or NCSLAAP?

SLAAP began its life as the North Carolina Sociolinguistic Archive and Analysis Project. To better reflect SLAAP's growing public focus - and the fact that an increasing number of materials in the archive (currently, over 20%) are from outside of North Carolina - we have decided to drop the NC from its name.

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What is in the SLAAP archive?

The archive is constantly growing, but currently contains (as of October 2019)

  • over 4,800 interviews;
  • over 7,800 audio files;
  • over 4,000 hours of audio!;

  • over 230 hours of transcribed audio;
  • over 2.3 million words of orthographically transcribed speech, accurately time-stamped and linked to the audio
from a variety of languages (predominately American dialects in North Carolina and the southeastern United States).

The collection features the interviews of numerous well-known sociolinguists, including Walt Wolfram, Ron Butters, Erik Thomas, Natalie Schilling-Estes, and Kirk Hazen.

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Why isn't more of the archive transcribed?

Good question: You're right to note that the 238.03 hours of transcribed audio is only a tiny portion (only 5.9%!) of the audio collection. Why haven't we transcribed more? Transcripts in SLAAP are meticulously made by hand, using Praat to obtain highly accurate timestamps for each utterance by each speaker (cf. Kendall 2006-2007, Kendall 2007a). This is necessarily slow going business and is unable to keep pace with our aggressive audio-digitization effort. Nonetheless, transcribing is ongoing and someday - especially if we ever finish digitizing - we hope to have a higher proportion of the archive transcribed.

Many of SLAAP's features are designed to make it easier to work with and analyze audio recordings without transcription. User-generated time-aligned annotations, for example, allow users to better search and catalogue the audio. The variable extraction and coding features allow users to time-align sociolinguistic variables for more reliable and repeatable analysis.

It may be worth noting that a number of the interviews in SLAAP do have legacy transcripts in plain-text (or MS Word) formats. Many of these are available to SLAAP users, but these transcripts are not included towards the reported 238.03 hours of transcibed audio.

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Who can use SLAAP? How can I access the archive?

Access to the SLAAP software and archive is password protected. Bona fide researchers can ask for and receive access to portions of the NCLLP's collection, dependent on the specific needs of the researcher and the human subjects permissions for the requested materials. Please contact Tyler Kendall or Walt Wolfram regarding access requests.

We intend for SLAAP to be available to house and analyze non-NCLLP recordings. If you would like to add your materials to the SLAAP archive, for your own use or for sharing with other researchers, please let us know! (SLAAP's access control features allow fine-grained access control over the availability of the archive's resources.)

We are also aiming in the coming months to make portions of the archive publically accessible. Stay tuned for information on that initiative.

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How do I learn more about SLAAP?

Tyler Kendall has written some articles about the project. For general information about SLAAP, Kendall's 2007 PWPL article is probably the best source (if you need to cite SLAAP, this is probably also best):

Kendall, Tyler (2007). Enhancing Sociolinguistic Data Collections: The North Carolina Sociolinguistic Archive and Analysis Project. Penn Working Papers in Linguistics 13.2: 15-26. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania. [ PDF 896kb ]

A recent, more general paper related to the project is:

Kendall, Tyler (2008). On the History and Future of Sociolinguistic Data. Language and Linguistics Compass, 2.2: 332-351. Blackwell Publishing.

In 2006, Tyler Kendall and Amanda French gave a paper at the international Digital Humanities conference that situated SLAAP more broadly within humanities computing and library science. The abstract from this presentation may also be of interest:

Kendall, Tyler and Amanda French (2006). Digital Audio Archives, Computer-Enhanced Transcripts, and New Methods in Sociolinguistic Analysis, Digital Humanities (ALLC/ACH) 2006: Paris, France. July 2006. [ PDF 276kb ]

For more papers written about SLAAP or as a result of SLAAP, see the papers page. You are also welcome to email Tyler - at tsk [at] - if you have specific questions about the project.

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What happened to the old webpages about SLAAP?

The old webpages about SLAAP and about its features are pretty out of date and much of the information on them is no longer accurate. Nonethless, for historical reasons they are still available here:

You are urged to refer to some of Tyler's recent papers for more information about the project.

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With thanks to the North Carolina State University Libraries, the North Carolina Language and Life Project, and the William C. Friday Endowment at NC State University for their support.  © Tyler Kendall
last mod: 9/21/2021