7th International Conference on Spoken Language Processing

September 16-20, 2002
Denver, Colorado, USA

An Analysis of the Causes of Increased Error Rates in Children’s Speech Recognition

Qun Li, Martin J. Russell

University of Birmingham, U.K.

Previous studies have shown that children’s speech is more difficult to recognize by machine than adults’ speech. This paper presents the results of experiments which investigate recognition performance variation within a small population of children. Results suggest that recogniser performance on a child’s speech is well correlated with a teacher’s assessment of the child’s speaking proficiency. For children whose speech is judged to be good, performance is close to that of adults, but error rates increase by a factor of 4 for children with ‘poor’ speech. An analysis of actual pronunciations for children with poor speech shows significant divergence from the ‘idealised’ baseforms in a pronunciation dictionary. It is demonstrated that some improvements can be gained through the use of customized dictionaries. Finally, the effects of bandwidth reduction on recogniser performance are investigated for a range of children with differing speaking styles.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Li, Qun / Russell, Martin J. (2002): "An analysis of the causes of increased error rates in children˛s speech recognition", In ICSLP-2002, 2337-2340.