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LINGUIST List 19.1853

Wed Jun 11 2008

Qs: Hierarchy of Variation in Natural Speech

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        1.    Cassie Mayo, Hierarchy of Hierarchy in Natural Speech


Message 1: Hierarchy of Hierarchy in Natural Speech
Date: 11-Jun-2008
From: Cassie Mayo <catherinling.ed.ac.uk>
Subject: Hierarchy of Hierarchy in Natural Speech
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I'm working on a project looking at the process of subjective evaluation of
speech synthesis (that is, we're not evaluating, but rather determining
what listeners do when they evaluate). We have found (probably
unsurprisingly) that the acoustic information that listeners are influenced
by in judging something like ''naturalness'' of synthetic speech falls into
a hierarchy -- listeners are more influenced by some sorts of information
than others. In very general terms, the hierarchy seems to be: Presence of
artifacts (due to join discontinuities, etc) has more influence than
segmental quality which has more influence than intonation appropriateness.

Intuitively, this looks to me like the opposite of what would be considered
to be acceptable variation in natural speech, that is, listeners will
accept a great deal of variation in intonation, somewhat less variation in
segmental quality,
and much less (no?) variation in terms of presence of artifacts (pops and
clicks, rather than repairs and restarts).

Has anyone come across any references that might support this intuition?

Linguistic Field(s): Computational Linguistics
                            Forensic Linguistics
                            Phonetics
                            Psycholinguistics

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