10th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

Brighton, United Kingdom
September 6-10, 2009

Development of a Kenyan English Text to Speech System: A Method of Developing a TTS for a Previously Undefined English Dialect

Mucemi Gakuru

Teknobyte Ltd., Kenya

This work provides a method that can be used to build an English TTS for a population who speak a dialect which is not defined and for which no resources exist, by showing how a Text to Speech System (TTS) was developed for the English dialect spoken in Kenya. To begin with, the existence of a unique English dialect which had not previously been defined was confirmed from the need by the English speaking Kenyan population to have a TTS in an accent different from the British accent. This dialect is referred to here and has also been branded as Kenyan English. Given that building a TTS requires language features to be adequately defined, it was necessary to develop the essential features of the dialect such as the phoneset and the lexicon and then verifying their correctness. The paper shows how it was possible to come up with a systematic approach for defining these features through tracing the evolution of the dialect. It also discusses how the TTS was built and tested.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Gakuru, Mucemi (2009): "Development of a kenyan English text to speech system: a method of developing a TTS for a previously undefined English dialect", In INTERSPEECH-2009, 2063-2066.