You can turn your computer into a pretty good phonetics lab
for free. (Consider sending them money anyway.)
- Praat. For recording,
spectrograms, pitch tracks, waveform editing, running perception
experiments, filtering, articulatory synthesis, cochleagrams, and
lots more. Scriptable, too.
- R. For statistics
and graphs. R is an open-source clone of S. Capabilities are
comparable to SAS and better than SPSS, plus it's easier to learn
and does better graphics. Active user support network. It's
worth getting Peter Dalgaard's book Introductory Statistics
with R too.
- Perl. For all your data-
munging needs (e.g., getting numbers from Praat into a form where
R can read them).
- Java 2, a
full-fledged general-purpose programming language, is useful for
writing software to run experiments. It's extremely flexible; you
can do adaptive methods, voice response, etc. etc. It's also
(mostly) platform-independent: You can write an experiment-control
program on, e.g., a Mac, and run it on, e.g., a Linux or Windows
machine -- or even over the Web. (However, it is not adequate when
events have to be timed precisely.)
- Scilab and
Octave are freeware Matlab
clones. Good for advanced signal processing and lots more.