Fourth Workshop on Child, Computer and Interaction (WOCCI 2014)

September 19, 2014

Correlating ASR Errors with Developmental Changes in Speech Production: A Study of 3-10-Year-Old European Portuguese Children’s Speech

Annika Hämäläinen (1,2), Sara Candeias (1,3), Hyongsil Cho (1,2), Hugo Meinedo (1,5), Alberto Abad (5,6), Thomas Pellegrini (4), Michael Tjalve (7), Isabel Trancoso (5,6), Miguel Sales Dias (1,2)

(1) Microsoft Language Development Center, Lisbon, Portugal
(2) ISCTE - University Institute of Lisbon (ISCTE-IUL), Lisbon, Portugal
(3) Instituto de Telecomunicações - pole of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal
(4) IRIT - Université Toulouse III - Paul Sabatier, Toulouse, France
(5) INESC-ID Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal
(6) Instituto Superior Técnico, Lisbon, Portugal
(7) Microsoft & University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA

Automatically recognising children’s speech is a very difficult task. This difficulty can be attributed to the high variability in children’s speech, both within and across speakers. The variability is due to developmental changes in children’s anatomy, speech production skills et cetera, and manifests itself, for example, in fundamental and formant frequencies, the frequency of disfluencies, and pronunciation quality. In this paper, we report the results of acoustic and auditory analyses of 3-10-year-old European Portuguese children’s speech. Furthermore, we are able to correlate some of the pronunciation error patterns revealed by our analyses – such as the truncation of consonant clusters – with the errors made by a children’s speech recogniser trained on speech collected from the same age group. Other pronunciation error patterns seem to have little or no impact on speech recognition performance. In future work, we will attempt to use our findings to improve the performance of our recogniser.

Index Terms: automatic speech recognition, children’s speech, acoustic analysis, auditory analysis, error analysis, European Portuguese, pronunciation quality

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Hämäläinen, Annika / Candeias, Sara / Cho, Hyongsil / Meinedo, Hugo / Abad, Alberto / Pellegrini, Thomas / Tjalve, Michael / Trancoso, Isabel / Dias, Miguel Sales (2014): "Correlating ASR errors with developmental changes in speech production: a study of 3-10-year-old European Portuguese children’s speech", In WOCCI-2014, 7-13.