Vowel normalisation: Time-domain processing of the internal dynamics of speech

R. E. Turner and M. A. Al-Hames and D. R. R. Smith and H. Kawahara and T. Irino and R. D. Patterson

Book Chapter in Dynamics of Speech Production and Perception

Human listeners can identify vowels regardless of speaker size, although the sound waves for an adult and a child speaking the 'same' vowel would differ enormously. The differences are mainly due to the differences in vocal tract length (VTL) and glottal pulse rate (GPR) which are both related to body size. Automatic speech recognition machines are notoriously bad at understanding children if they have been trained on the speech of an adult. In this paper, we propose that the auditory system adapts its analysis of speech sounds, dynamically and automatically to the GPR and VTL of the speaker on a syllable-to-syllable basis. We illustrate how this rapid adaptation might be performed with the aid of a computational version of the auditory image model, and we propose that an auditory preprocessor of this form would improve the robustness of speech recognisers.


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