12th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

Florence, Italy
August 27-31. 2011

A Corpus-Based Study of English Pronunciation Variations

Sunhee Kim, Kyuwhan Lee, Minhwa Chung

Seoul National University, Korea

This paper aims to present an analysis of English pronunciation variations using the TIMIT corpus of American English. The manually annotated data are analyzed by comparing the pronunciation variants to their canonical pronunciations which are defined by using the CMU Pronunciation Dictionary. Vowels and consonants are separately analyzed with respect to substitution, deletion and insertion. The results show that: i) vowels are more subject to substitution than deletion, whereas consonants are more subject to deletion than substitution; and ii) vocalic substitutions are related to the raising and the reduction of vowels, whereas consonantal substitutions are related to changes in voice, place of articulation and manner of articulation. Given that the ultimate goal of pronunciation training in the area of second language acquisition is to help students achieve a reasonably "intelligible" pronunciation rather than an "accent-less" pronunciation, the results of this study will contribute to the determination of "comprehensible" pronunciation of English. Furthermore, they will also contribute to the study of English phonetics and phonology as well as to the development of pronunciation modeling of English speech recognizers.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Kim, Sunhee / Lee, Kyuwhan / Chung, Minhwa (2011): "A corpus-based study of English pronunciation variations", In INTERSPEECH-2011, 1893-1896.