Monday, October 02, 2006

one small step...


A small step for grammar
EVER since Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the Moon, debate has raged over whether he might have fluffed his lines.

"That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind," he was heard to say as he touched the lunar surface on 20 July, 1969.

He said he meant to say "one small step for a man" - more grammatically correct - but even the astronaut himself could not be sure.

However, using hi-tech sound analysis, an Australian computer expert has rediscovered the "a". Peter Shann Ford found that Armstrong spoke the word ten times too fast for it to be audible.
Did he really say it, if he spoke the word 10x too fast to be audible?

2 comments:

The Righteousness of God said...

Aren't we glad he didn't go on to a brilliant preaching career?

I hear Nasa has a variation of 'spell check', called 'speech check' inside the new helmets.

Anonymous said...

Peter Shann Ford's "analysis" of Neil Armstrong's moon landing speech is completely unscientific, and not a proof at all (and Peter is more a CEO and ex news anchorman than computer programmer). (1). No speech researcher would make a scientific claim using Goldwave software (like making a blockbuster movie in iMovie). (2). The audio used was 11.025 kHz, 8 bit quality. (3). The "control phrase" (for mankind) has shorter syllables because it has more of them. (4). Peter Shann Ford didn't use the first tool of any speech researcher - the spectrogram. (5). Peter's "research" was reviewed by an astronaut who emphasised the finding was "persuasive", and "Ms. Rano Singh, a Physiotherapist with a Masters in Biomechanics". (6). The mouth diagram is from a description of Korean alveolars, and Korean does not have the American English approximant /r/. (this point from http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/003639.html#more)
(7). There was no peer review by real speech analysis researchers. I believe the whole thing to be a dodgy publicity stunt for Peter Shann Ford and his Control Bionics company. Read more here: http://blog.soundsorange.net