First International Conference on Spoken Language Processing (ICSLP 90)

Kobe, Japan
November 18-22, 1990

An Information Theoretic Approach to the Study of Phoneme Collocational Constraints

Rob Kassel, Victor W. Zue

Spoken Language Systems Group, Laboratory for Computer Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA

In this paper we describe a lexical study of phoneme collocational constraints using a metric motivated by information theory. We used a pairwise, hierarchical clustering technique to combine phonemes into classes using a normalized measure of mutual information. The result of this clustering process can be displayed as a dendrogram, from which one may select an arbitrary number of equivalence classes. We have conducted a number of experiments investigating phoneme collocational constraints within pairs and triplets. In many cases we found that phonemes are organized into classes that share certain phonological features. In fact, phonemes that have similar acoustic properties often exhibit similar collocational constraints. We also compared the constraining power of our phoneme classes with those chosen by a phonological criterion, and found ours to be more than competitive. Based on our results, we conclude that our information theoretic metric is particularly useful as a description of lexical constraining power.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Kassel, Rob / Zue, Victor W. (1990): "An information theoretic approach to the study of phoneme collocational constraints", In ICSLP-1990, 937-940.