10th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

Brighton, United Kingdom
September 6-10, 2009

Identification of Contrast and its Emphatic Realization in HMM Based Speech Synthesis

Leonardo Badino, J. Sebastian Andersson, Junichi Yamagishi, Robert A. J. Clark

University of Edinburgh, UK

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.

Full Paper

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.