SpeechMark Newsletter September 2023

SpeechMark Newsletter

Announcing SpeechMark MATLAB Toolbox Version 1.4.
This update offers certain SpeechMark functionality that is only available through the MATLAB toolbox.  It does not affect other SpeechMark products.Elevating Your VisualizationsWith Version 1.4, the toolbox gets a long-overdue update to a feature surrounding the plotting and graphing functionality of SpeechMark. Previously, plots were constructed with a distinctive black background optimized for contrast. However readable these black backgrounds were, a challenge arose because scientific journals conventionally feature white backgrounds. This made SpeechMark data integration a difficulty. The best you could do was use MATLAB’s built-in, but incomplete, whitebg function. With the introduction of updated and new plotting functions, our visuals now effortlessly integrate the white backgrounds conventionally preferred in scientific journals.We still allow users to use black backgrounds, which have a high level of clarity and contrast. However, our latest update introduces the function ‘smbg_color‘ to reverse the background and other colors of all later plots, to allow for the more accepted white backgrounds. Just type its name! And type it again if you want to toggle back to plotting black backgrounds. This will not affect any plotting outside of SpeechMark. The two figures above showcase what this looks like. Type “help smbg_color” for more details.If you use a startup script for SpeechMark and other options, and you want to use the white backgrounds as your SpeechMark default, simply call ‘smbg_color‘ in the script and begin plotting. We hope this new feature will improve the ease of using SpeechMark alongside your other research with a direct line for incorporating figures.
Tweaks and Bug Fixes
For readability, the corners of the vowel quadrilateral are now labeled with their vowels: /i/, /u/, /a/, and /ae/.We have also made updates and fixes to a few of our other SpeechMark functions. In ‘lm_vowel_space’ and ‘mat_lminfo’, we fixed small and uncommon defects, and in ‘fricative_lms’ we fixed a large-memory issue.


With SpeechMark’s extensive list of functions, it can be overwhelming to memorize the different arguments all the functions take. Thankfully, all SpeechMark functions respond to “?” with their signature.

For instance, like all SpeechMark functions, ‘stdfig‘ responds to “?” and shows the two arguments that ‘stdfig‘ requires, position and width:
>> stdfig ?
<figno> = stdfig(<POSITION>,<WIDTH>)

Note that many functions within SpeechMark have default behavior or values if certain arguments are omitted or empty ([ ], ” “, or { }). The “?” message shows these in <angle brackets>. In the example, the <.> shows that the ‘figno‘ output is not returned if ‘stdfig‘ is called without an output argument – just like MATLAB’s plot function, but unlike most others.  See “help function” for further details on any SpeechMark function.