Colin W. Wightman
Dept. of Elec. Eng., New Mexico Inst. of Mining and Technol., Socorro, NM 87801
Entropic Res. Lab., Washington, DC 20003
In the past few years, corpus-based methods of inquiry have yielded significant insights into the structure and role of prosody in human speech. Efforts are currently underway to discover the relationship between prosody and syntax and discourse, and to develop automated speech processing systems (both for synthesis and recognition) that take advantage of the information contained in prosody. These efforts, however, are critically dependent upon the availability of large speech corpora in which the relevant prosodic phenomena have been consistently transcribed. If the development of such a corpus is to be cost effective or, indeed, if prosodic cues are to be detected in automated systems, computational tools that facilitate and, where possible, automate the transcription process must be made available. In this paper, some the tools currently available will be presented and their performance and utility reviewed. In particular, a new tool for generating accurate, time-aligned phonetic transcriptions of spontaneous speech will be discussed, and quantitative measures of its performance will be presented. Integration of this tool into a comprehensive prosodic labeling environment will also be discussed.