Third International Conference on Spoken Language Processing (ICSLP 94)

Yokohama, Japan
September 18-22, 1994

Improving Parsing by Incorporating 'Prosodic Clause Boundaries into a Grammar

G. Bakenecker (1), U. Block (1), Anton Batliner (2), Ralf Kompe (3), Elmar Nöth (3), Peter Regel-Brietzmann (4)

(1) Siemens AG, München, Germany
(2) L.-M. Universität, Institut für Deutsche Philologie, München, Germany
(3) University Erlangen-NÜrnberg, Lehrstuhl fÜr Mustererkennung (Informatik 5), Erlangen, Germany
(4) Daimler-Benz AG, Ulm, Germany

In written language, punctuation is used to separate main and subordinate clause. In spoken language, ambiguities arise due to missing punctuation, but clause boundaries are often marked prosodically and can be used instead. We detect PCBs (Prosodically marked Clause Boundaries) by using prosodic features (duration, intonation, energy, and pause information) with a neural network, achieving a recognition rate of 82%. PCBs are integrated into our grammar using a special syntactic category 'break' that can be used in the phrase-structure rules of the grammar in a similar way as punctuation is used in grammars for written language. Whereas punctuation in most cases is obligatory, PCBs are sometimes optional. Moreover, they can in principle occur everywhere in the sentence due e.g. to hesitations or misrecognition. To cope with these problems we tested two different approaches: A slightly modified parser for word chains containing PCBs and a word graph parser that takes the probabilities of PCBs into account. Tests were conducted on a subset of infinitive subordinate clauses from a large speech database containing sentences from the domain of train table inquiries. The average number of syntactic derivations could be reduced by about 70 % even when working on recognized word graphs.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Bakenecker, G. / Block, U. / Batliner, Anton / Kompe, Ralf / Nöth, Elmar / Regel-Brietzmann, Peter (1994): "Improving parsing by incorporating 'prosodic clause boundaries into a grammar", In ICSLP-1994, 1115-1118.