5th International Conference on Spoken Language Processing

Sydney, Australia
November 30 - December 4, 1998

Postvocalic /r/-deletion in Standard Dutch: How Experimental Phonology Can Profit From ASR Technology

Catia Cucchiarini, Henk van den Heuvel

A2RT, University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands

In this study automatic speech recognition (ASR) techniques were used to substantiate the findings of phonological research on postvocalic /r/-deletion in Standard Dutch. A database containing spontaneous speech utterances stemming from man-machine interactions in an automatic train-table inquiry system was used for this purpose. Pronunciation variants with and without /r/ were automatically generated on the basis of our specification of the phonological rule of /r/-deletion and were then included in the lexicon of a continuous speech recognizer (CSR) which was used in forced recognition mode. The results show that in a corpus containing 214,102 words, in which /r/-deletion could be applied 16,865 times, it was actually applied in 47.6% of the cases. This is a high percentage of occurrence for a phenomenon that has so sporadically been described. Furthermore, the results substantiate our rule specification: /r/-deletion occurs more often after schwa than after any other vowel.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Cucchiarini, Catia / Heuvel, Henk van den (1998): "Postvocalic /r/-deletion in standard dutch: how experimental phonology can profit from ASR technology", In ICSLP-1998, paper 0753.