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Ever since the peculiarities of speech have fascinated linguistic researchers they were eager to collect manifestations of them. But one of the central problems concerned the question how spoken language could be documented. Notation systems were developed which were to reflect the original sound. Transcripts substituted for the original spoken language in all subsequent research. The problem remained even after recording machines had been invented. For a long time, the possibility of integrating the real sound into linguistic study was not even within the realm of thought. Up until this day, it is usual to employ transcriptions in the place of the real language.
In the new approach the notation does NOT substitute for the sound. On the contrary, the notation of the audio signal and the signal itself form a unit. Notations are created to facilitate access to the sound with optimized precision; they provide the basis for navigation in an archive of spoken language.