Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I want to describe a recorded speech database in an academic paper. It has been recorded via telephone. People call from their home / workplace, but not under very noisy conditions. Usual environmental noises (somebody talking behind, vehicular noise etc.) are present. I thought of describing it as "the database is recorded under realistic conditions". What are some better alternatives for the word realistic, if any?

share|improve this question
1  
Everyday? Natural? –  cornbread ninja 麵包忍者 Sep 19 '12 at 13:26
1  
In the video biz it's called "wild sound" or "wild audio". –  StoneyB Sep 19 '12 at 14:20

3 Answers 3

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Such circumstances are usually called real-world conditions (i.e. - not controlled conditions).

Only my own opinion, but personally I think OP's suggested "realistic conditions" implies controlled, artificial conditions - although specifically designed to mimic real-world conditions, there's always a chance the testers either failed to set things up as they intended, or were unaware of some crucial aspect of the "real real" world.

share|improve this answer
    
Oh, I didn't think of this aspect. Basically you opine that realistic implies less real than plain real. –  user13107 Sep 19 '12 at 15:53
1  
@user13107: That's certainly my opinion, yes. You can make a realistic copy of something, but unless you want to get involved in the metaphysical/philosophical implications of fungibility, it doesn't make much sense to speak of a real copy. –  FumbleFingers Sep 19 '12 at 16:04

I have often heard the background sounds referred to as the ambient noise.

What is Ambient Noise?

"Ambient conditions" seems to have more use on the Web as referring to weather, but if you told me that whatever I was about to listen to was recorded under ambient conditons I would be expecting background noise.

share|improve this answer

You might say under existing conditions, or imperfect, uncontrolled, run of the mill, flawed, as-found, ordinary, mediocre. Cornbread ninja's suggestion of everyday also is good, and its definition leads to commonplace (as well as ordinary, already suggested).

share|improve this answer
    
Thanks, just a doubt, would 'run of the mill' work in an academic paper setting? Right now I'm trying to google up all the suggested alternatives to see how they have been used by people in the literature. –  user13107 Sep 19 '12 at 13:45
1  
@user13107, 'run of the mill' may be ok in some academic papers but is less likely than the other terms. Using several words together, at least upon first mention, might be best. Eg, "... recorded under existing, everyday, less-than-pristine conditions". –  jwpat7 Sep 19 '12 at 13:51

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.