The ToBI Tutorial

The Tutorial is available here as part of MIT's OpenCourseWare. The text of the tutorial may be found under the menu item "lecture notes." There are additionally exercises to accompany the first 9 sections of the tutorial under the menu item "exercises."

About the Tutorial

The new ToBI Tutorial does not replace the original Guidelines for ToBI Labelling (also called the Labelling Guide), which continues to be the definitive reference for labelling in ToBI. It has become clear over the years that the Labelling Guide has been serving two distinct purposes: 1) as a learning tool and 2) as a reference manual. Our goal in creating the new ToBI Tutorial has been to begin the process of separating the resources for these two functions. Future revisions of the Labelling Guide will focus on those aspects of the Guide that are used as a reference for those who already know the basics of the ToBI system.

The ToBI Tutorial provides an introduction to the labelling system in graduated steps. The ToBI inventory is introduced incrementally over a sequence of sections, and with many different examples. It is intended to be accessible to a fairly wide audience, without assuming any background in linguistics or speech sciences.

The Tutorial is a work in progress, and future versions (revisions and expansions) are planned. Suggestions are welcome. (Contact us.)

What is new about ToBI as discussed in the Tutorial?

  1. The alt tier: The Tutorial includes a section which describes a new addition to the ToBI system: the Alternatives (alt) tier, for capturing labeller intuitions about prosodic ambiguity. The alt tier was developed following discussions at the 2004 Workshop on ToBI for Spontaneous Speech. (More information on the alt tier will be available on this wesite soon.)

  2. The %H symbol: At this time, the %H symbol (initial high boundary tone) is not discussed in the Tutorial. It is still officially in the English ToBI inventory, but there has been a proposal to remove it. (It has been suggested that previous uses of this tone can be reanalyzed as being tone targets associated with a pitch accent.) Further research is needed in this area.

  3. Possible future changes: There have additionally been proposals from various researchers who use ToBI to make further modifications to the inventory. Proposals have included the addition of new bitonal pitch accents, as well as revisions to the handling of disfluencies and mismatches. These are also areas of current research. At this time, the Tutorial sections on disfluencies (the p diacritic) and mismatches (break index 2) have been taken directly from the original labelling guide.

Back to ToBI home