9th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

Brisbane, Australia
September 22-26, 2008

Schwa Variants in American English

H. Timothy Bunnell (1), Jason Lilley (2)

(1) Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, USA; (2) University of Delaware, USA

In this study, we examine the acoustic structure of schwa variants in a speech corpus intended for concatenative TTS. Our goals are two-fold. First, as a matter of academic interest, we seek to characterize schwa acoustics in a speech corpus designed to provide broad coverage of di- and tri-phone contexts. This characterization extends recent work on the distinction between the barred-i variant of schwa /1/ and the more central /@/ form of schwa [1]. Our second goal is to improve the concordance between our transcriptions as generated by the front-end of our TTS system, and the phonetic behavior of talkers who record corpora for concatenative TTS. Based on analysis of a single talker's corpus, our results support the claim in [1] that /1/ is more common than generally assumed. However, the claim that /1/ characterizes all stem-medial schwas is not well-supported by our data.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Bunnell, H. Timothy / Lilley, Jason (2008): "Schwa variants in american English", In INTERSPEECH-2008, 1959-1962.