5th European Conference on Speech Communication and Technology

Rhodes, Greece
September 22-25, 1997

On Not Remembering Disfluencies

Ellen G. Bard, Robin J. Lickley

Human Communication Research Centre and Department of Linguistics, University of Edinburgh, UK

Disfluencies - repetitions and reformulations mid-sentence in normal spontaneous speech - are problematic for both psychological and computational models of speech understanding. Much effort is being applied to finding ways of adapting computational systems to detect and delete disfluencies. The input to such systems is usually an accurate transcription. We present results of an experiment in which human listeners are asked to give verbatim transcriptions of disfluent and fluent utterances. These suggest that listeners are seldom able to identify all the words "deleted" in disfluencies. While all types suffer, identification rates for repetitions are even worse than for other types. We attribute the results to difficulties in recall or coding for recall items which can not be identified with certainty. This inability seems to make human speech recognition more robust than current computational models.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Lickley, Robin J. / Bard, Ellen G. (1997): "On not remembering disfluencies", In EUROSPEECH-1997, 2855-2858.