SCIENTISTS in Glasgow have created the first online database of its kind showing how speech is formed.

Academics have built a catalogue of recordings showing speakers' tongues moving inside their mouths during normal speech.

Researchers say the Seeing Speech website will aid speech therapists, learners of English as a foreign language and linguists, as well as actors trying to perfect accents.

The website will provide access to ultrasound and MRI videos, presenting the tongue's movement at full speed and half speed to allow for detailed study.

The team, led by researchers at Glasgow University, were funded by the Carnegie Trust.

Jane Stuart-Smith, the university's Professor of Phonetics and Sociolinguistics, said: "One problem encountered by phonetics teachers and students is there is nothing out there that shows how speech sounds are formed.

"The only resources we had to work with up to this point were static diagrams and models that break the vocal tract up into sections and provide a fragmented view of what are really synchronised, dynamic actions of the vocal organs."

The website is: www.seeingspeech.arts.