Unsupervised Subword Modeling Using Autoregressive Pretraining and Cross-Lingual Phone-Aware Modeling

Siyuan Feng, Odette Scharenborg


This study addresses unsupervised subword modeling, i.e., learning feature representations that can distinguish subword units of a language. The proposed approach adopts a two-stage bottleneck feature (BNF) learning framework, consisting of autoregressive predictive coding (APC) as a front-end and a DNN-BNF model as a back-end. APC pretrained features are set as input features to a DNN-BNF model. A language-mismatched ASR system is used to provide cross-lingual phone labels for DNN-BNF model training. Finally, BNFs are extracted as the subword-discriminative feature representation. A second aim of this work is to investigate the robustness of our approach’s effectiveness to different amounts of training data. The results on Libri-light and the ZeroSpeech 2017 databases show that APC is effective in front-end feature pretraining. Our whole system outperforms the state of the art on both databases. Cross-lingual phone labels for English data by a Dutch ASR outperform those by a Mandarin ASR, possibly linked to the larger similarity of Dutch compared to Mandarin with English. Our system is less sensitive to training data amount when the training data is over 50 hours. APC pretraining leads to a reduction of needed training material from over 5,000 hours to around 200 hours with little performance degradation.


 DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2020-1170

Cite as: Feng, S., Scharenborg, O. (2020) Unsupervised Subword Modeling Using Autoregressive Pretraining and Cross-Lingual Phone-Aware Modeling. Proc. Interspeech 2020, 2732-2736, DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2020-1170.


@inproceedings{Feng2020,
  author={Siyuan Feng and Odette Scharenborg},
  title={{Unsupervised Subword Modeling Using Autoregressive Pretraining and Cross-Lingual Phone-Aware Modeling}},
  year=2020,
  booktitle={Proc. Interspeech 2020},
  pages={2732--2736},
  doi={10.21437/Interspeech.2020-1170},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/Interspeech.2020-1170}
}