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An Acoustic Measure for Word Prominence in Spontaneous Speech

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2 Author(s)
Wang, D. ; Viterbi Sch. of Eng., Univ. of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA ; Narayanan, S.

An algorithm for automatic speech prominence detection is reported in this paper. We describe a comparative analysis on various acoustic features for word prominence detection and report results using a spoken dialog corpus with manually assigned prominence labels. The focus is on features such as spectral intensity and speech rate that are directly extracted from speech based on a correlation-based approach without requiring explicit linguistic or phonetic knowledge. Additionally, various pitch-based measures are studied with respect to their discriminating ability for prominence detection. A parametric scheme for modeling pitch plateau is proposed and this feature alone is found to outperform the traditional local pitch statistics. Two sets of experiments are used to explore the usefulness of the acoustic score generated using these features. The first set focuses on a more traditional way of word prominence detection based on a manually-tagged corpus. A 76.8% classification accuracy was achieved on a corpus of role-playing spoken dialogs. Due to difficulties in manually tagging speech prominence into discrete levels (categories), the second set of experiments focuses on evaluating the score indirectly. Specifically, through experiments on the Switchboard corpus, it is shown that the proposed acoustic score can discriminate between content word and function words in a statistically significant way. The relation between speech prominence and content/function words is also explored. Since prominent words tend to be predominantly content words, and since content words can be automatically marked from text-derived part of speech (POS) information, it is shown that the proposed acoustic score can be indirectly cross-validated through POS information

Published in:

Audio, Speech, and Language Processing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:15 ,  Issue: 2 )

Date of Publication:

Feb. 2007

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