We propose a unified approach to automatic foreign accent recognition. It takes advantage of recent technology advances in both linguistics and acoustics based modeling techniques in automatic speech recognition (ASR) while overcoming the issue of a lack of a large set of transcribed data often required in designing state-of-the-art ASR systems. The key idea lies in defining a common set of fundamental units "universally" across all spoken accents such that any given spoken utterance can be transcribed with this set of "accent-universal" units. In this study, we adopt a set of units describing manner and place of articulation as speech attributes. These units exist in most spoken languages and they can be reliably modeled and extracted to represent foreign accent cues. We also propose an i-vector representation strategy to model the feature streams formed by concatenating these units. Testing on both the Finnish national foreign language certificate (FSD) corpus and the English NIST 2008 SRE corpus, the experimental results with the proposed approach demonstrate a significant system performance improvement with p-value 0.05 over those with the conventional spectrum-based techniques. We observed up to a 15% relative error reduction over the already very strong i-vector accented recognition system when only manner information is used. Additional improvement is obtained by adding place of articulation clues along with context information. Furthermore, diagnostic information provided by the proposed approach can be useful to the designers to further enhance the system performance.

i-Vector Modeling of Speech Attributes for Automatic Foreign Accent Recognition

S. M. SINISCALCHI
Investigation
;
2016

Abstract

We propose a unified approach to automatic foreign accent recognition. It takes advantage of recent technology advances in both linguistics and acoustics based modeling techniques in automatic speech recognition (ASR) while overcoming the issue of a lack of a large set of transcribed data often required in designing state-of-the-art ASR systems. The key idea lies in defining a common set of fundamental units "universally" across all spoken accents such that any given spoken utterance can be transcribed with this set of "accent-universal" units. In this study, we adopt a set of units describing manner and place of articulation as speech attributes. These units exist in most spoken languages and they can be reliably modeled and extracted to represent foreign accent cues. We also propose an i-vector representation strategy to model the feature streams formed by concatenating these units. Testing on both the Finnish national foreign language certificate (FSD) corpus and the English NIST 2008 SRE corpus, the experimental results with the proposed approach demonstrate a significant system performance improvement with p-value 0.05 over those with the conventional spectrum-based techniques. We observed up to a 15% relative error reduction over the already very strong i-vector accented recognition system when only manner information is used. Additional improvement is obtained by adding place of articulation clues along with context information. Furthermore, diagnostic information provided by the proposed approach can be useful to the designers to further enhance the system performance.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11387/116521
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