The impact of accent identification errors on speech recognition of South African English

  • Thomas R. Niesler Department of Electrical & Electronic Engineering, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa
  • Herman Kamper Department of Electrical & Electronic Engineering, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Keywords: parallel recognition, acoustic modelling, human language technology

Abstract

For successful deployment, a South African English speech recognition system must be capable of processing the prevalent accents in this variety of English. Previous work dealing with the different accents of South African English has considered the case in which the accent of the input speech is known. Here we focus on the practical scenario in which the accent of the input speech is unknown and accent identification must occur at recognition time. By means of a set of contrastive experiments, we determine the effect which errors in the identification of the accent have on speech recognition performance. We focus on the specific configuration in which a set of accent-specific speech recognisers operate in parallel, thereby delivering both a recognition hypothesis as well as an identified accent in a single step. We find that, despite their considerable number, the accent identification errors do not lead to degraded speech recognition performance. We conclude that, for our South African English data, there is no benefit of including a more complex explicit accent identification component in the overall speech recognition system.
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Published
2014-02-03