9th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

Brisbane, Australia
September 22-26, 2008

Pronunciation Verification of English Letter-Sounds in Preliterate Children

Matthew Black, Joseph Tepperman, Abe Kazemzadeh, Sungbok Lee, Shrikanth S. Narayanan

University of Southern California, USA

Correctly reading letter-sounds is an essential first step towards reading words and sentences. Pronunciation assessment of lettersounds is an important component of preliterate children's education, and automating this process can have several advantages. We propose a method to automatically verify the pronunciations of a letter-sound task administered to kindergarteners and first graders in realistic noisy classrooms. We compare different acoustic models, decoding grammars, and dictionaries to help differentiate between acceptable and unacceptable pronunciations. Our final system achieved 88.0 percent agreement (0.702 kappa agreement) with expert human evaluators, who agree themselves 94.9 percent of the time (0.886 kappa agreement).

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Black, Matthew / Tepperman, Joseph / Kazemzadeh, Abe / Lee, Sungbok / Narayanan, Shrikanth S. (2008): "Pronunciation verification of English letter-sounds in preliterate children", In INTERSPEECH-2008, 2783-2786.