Modelling Prominence and Emphasis Improves Unit-Selection Synthesis

Volker Strom, Ani Nenkova, Robert Clark, Yolanda Vazquez-Alvarez, Jason Brenier, Simon King, Dan Jurafsky

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract / Description of output

We describe the results of large scale perception experiments showing improvements in synthesising two distinct kinds of prominence: standard pitch-accent and strong emphatic accents. Previously prominence assignment has been mainly evaluated by computing accuracy on a prominence-labelled test set. By contrast we integrated an automatic pitch-accent classifier into the unit selection target cost and showed that listeners preferred these synthesised sentences. We also describe an improved recording script for collecting emphatic accents, and show that generating emphatic accents leads to further improvements in the fiction genre over incorporating pitch accent only. Finally, we show differences in the effects of prominence between child-directed speech and news and fiction genres. Index Terms: speech synthesis, prosody, prominence, pitch accent, unit selection
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInterspeech 2007
Subtitle of host publication8th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2007


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