Speech Prosody 2006

Dresden, Germany
May 2-5, 2006

Is Irregular Phonation a Reliable Cue Towards the Segmentation of Continuous Speech in American English?

Kushan Surana, Janet Slifka

Speech Communication Group, Research Laboratory of Electronics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA

This paper analyzes the potential use of irregular phonation as a cue for the segmentation of continuous speech. The analysis is conducted on two dialect regions of the TIMIT database which consists of read, isolated utterances. The data set encompasses 114 speakers resulting in 1331 hand-labeled irregular tokens. The study shows that 78% of the irregular tokens occur at word boundaries and 5% occur at syllable boundaries. Of the irregular tokens at syllable boundaries, 72% are either at the junction of a compound-word (e.g "outcast") or at the junction of a base word and a suffix. Of the irregular tokens which do not occur at word or syllable boundaries, 70% occur adjacent to voiceless consonants mostly in utterance-final location. These observations support irregular phonation as an acoustic cue for syntactic boundaries in connected speech. Detection of regions of irregular phonation could improve speech recognition and lexical access models.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Surana, Kushan / Slifka, Janet (2006): "Is irregular phonation a reliable cue towards the segmentation of continuous speech in american English?", In SP-2006, paper 177.