5th International Conference on Spoken Language Processing

Sydney, Australia
November 30 - December 4, 1998

Phonetic Modification of the Syllable /tu/ in Two Spontaneous American English Dialogues

Nanette M. Veilleux (1), Stefanie Shattuck-Hufnagel (2)

(1) Boston University, Metropolitan College, USA
(2) Mass Institute of Technology, Research Lab of Electronics, USA

In a pilot study of phonetic modification of function words in 2 spontaneous speech dialogues, 99 utterances of the syllable /tu/ corresponding to the morphemes to, two, too, -to and to- included ten pronunciation variants. Factors influencing phonetic modification included phonetic context, prosody, part of speech, adjacent disfluency and individual speaker. 11% of the acoustic landmarks defining /t/ closure, /t/ release and vowel jaw opening maximum were not detectable in hand labelling. In a separate corpus, 59% of recognition errors involved grammatical or function words like conjunctions, articles, prepositions, pronouns and auxilliary verbs, and for 17 tokens of /tu/, half were misrecognized. Implications of these preliminary results for linguistic theory, cognitive modelling of speech processing and automatic speech recognition are discussed.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Veilleux, Nanette M. / Shattuck-Hufnagel, Stefanie (1998): "Phonetic modification of the syllable /tu/ in two spontaneous american English dialogues", In ICSLP-1998, paper 0382.