First International Conference on Spoken Language Processing (ICSLP 90)

Kobe, Japan
November 18-22, 1990

The Use of Relative Duration in Syntactic Disambiguation

Patti J. Price (2), C. W. Wightman (1), Mari Ostendorf (1), John Bear (2)

(1) Boston University, Boston, MA, USA; (2) SRI International, Menlo Park, CA, USA

We describe the modification of a grammar to take advantage of prosodic information automatically extracted from speech. The work includes (1) the development of an integer break index representation of prosodic phrase boundary information, (2) the automatic detection of prosodic phrase breaks using a hidden Markov model on relative duration of phonetic segments, and (3) the integration of the prosodic phrase break information in SRI's Spoken Language System to rule out alternative parses in otherwise syntactically ambiguous sentences. Automatically detected phrase break indices had a correlation of greater than 0.8 with hand-labeled data for speaker-dependent and independent models; and in a subset of sentences with preposition ambiguities, the number of parses was reduced by 25% with a simple grammar modification.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Price, Patti J. / Wightman, C. W. / Ostendorf, Mari / Bear, John (1990): "The use of relative duration in syntactic disambiguation", In ICSLP-1990, 13-16.