Speech Prosody 2006

Dresden, Germany
May 2-5, 2006

Identification of Language and Accent through Visual Speech

Amy Irwin, Sharon Thomas

Institute of Hearing Research, University Park, Nottingham, UK

The production of speech involves an individualís control of their various articulators (lips, tongue, larynx etc.) to produce auditory speech signals [1]. These movements can be utilised in the processing of visual speech and form the basis of speechreading. However, the production of speech by different talkers can be variable; physiology, accent and speech rate can all change the appearance of the visual signal. The focus of this report is an investigation into the effects of language and accent variation on speechreading, an area previously lacking in systematic research.

Results from two experiments indicate, firstly, that the visual differences between French and English, (both accent and language) can be discriminated through visual speech. Secondly, in a comparison of speechreading performance, English sentences produced using a French accent were found to be significantly more difficult to speechread by English observers than those produced in an English accent.

This research indicates the importance of further study into the effects of accent on speechreading.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Irwin, Amy / Thomas, Sharon (2006): "Identification of language and accent through visual speech", In SP-2006, paper 067.