The work presented in this paper proposes to identify contrast in the form of contrastive word pairs and prosodically signal it with emphatic accents in a Text-to-Speech (TTS) application using a Hidden-Markov-Model (HMM) based speech synthesis system.
We first describe a novel method to automatically detect contrastive word pairs using textual features only and report its performance on a corpus of spontaneous conversations in English. Subsequently we describe the set of features selected to train a HMM-based speech synthesis system and attempting to properly control prosodic prominence (including emphasis).
Results from a large scale perceptual test show that in the majority of cases listeners judge emphatic contrastive word pairs as acceptable as their non-emphatic counterpart, while emphasis on non-contrastive pairs is almost never acceptable.
Bibliographic reference. Badino, Leonardo / Andersson, J. Sebastian / Yamagishi, Junichi / Clark, Robert A. J. (2009): "Identification of contrast and its emphatic realization in HMM based speech synthesis", In INTERSPEECH-2009, 520-523.