4th International Conference on Spoken Language Processing

Philadelphia, PA, USA
October 3-6, 1996

Applications of Automatic Speech Recognition to Speech and Language Development in Young Children

Martin Russell (1), Catherine Brown (1), Adrian Skilling (1), Rob Series (1), Julie Wallace (2), Bill Bohnam (3), Paul Barker (3)

(1) Speech Research Unit, DRA Malvern, Malvern, Worcs., UK
(2) Education Department, Hereford and Worcester County Council, Worcs., UK
(3) Sherston Software Limited, Angel House, Sherston, Malmesbury, Wilts., UK

Since 1990 the DRA Speech Research Unit has conducted research into applications of speech recognition technology to speech and language development for young children. This has been done in collaboration with Hereford and Worcester County Council Education Department (HWCC) and, more recently, with Sherston Software Limited, one of the UK’s leading independent educational software publishers. An initial project, known as STAR (Speech Training Aid Research), was prompted by HWCC’s awareness of a requirement by teachers for a computerised ‘Speech Training Aid’ tool to aid young children in the development of a range of communications and language skills. The goal was to develop a computer-based system which was able to distinguish between ‘good’ and ‘poor’ pronunciations of a word, spoken by a child in response to a textual, pictorial or verbal prompt, from a 1,000 word children’s vocabulary. The same speech recognition technology has subsequently been integrated into Sherston Software’s commercially successful range of animated ‘Talking Books’, which use stored digitised speech to enable the computer to read words out-loud to a child. This converts them into ‘Talking & Listening Books’ which, in addition to the existing functions, are able to ‘listen’ to a child reading and indicate words which have been read incorrectly.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Russell, Martin / Brown, Catherine / Skilling, Adrian / Series, Rob / Wallace, Julie / Bohnam, Bill / Barker, Paul (1996): "Applications of automatic speech recognition to speech and language development in young children", In ICSLP-1996, 176-179.