Volume 118, Issue 5, November 2005
Index of content:
- SPEECH PROCESSING AND COMMUNICATION SYSTEMS 
118(2005); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.2035588View Description Hide Description
Accented speech recognition is more challenging than standard speech recognition due to the effects of phonetic and acoustic confusions. Phonetic confusion in accented speech occurs when an expected phone is pronounced as a different one, which leads to erroneous recognition. Acoustic confusion occurs when the pronounced phone is found to lie acoustically between two baseform models and can be equally recognized as either one. We propose that it is necessary to analyze and model these confusions separately in order to improve accented speech recognition without degrading standard speech recognition. Since low phonetic confusion units in accented speech do not give rise to automatic speech recognition errors, we focus on analyzing and reducing phonetic and acoustic confusability under high phonetic confusion conditions. We propose using likelihood ratio test to measure phonetic confusion, and asymmetric acoustic distance to measure acoustic confusion. Only accent-specific phonetic units with low acoustic confusion are used in an augmented pronunciation dictionary, while phonetic units with high acoustic confusion are reconstructed using decision tree merging. Experimental results show that our approach is effective and superior to methods modeling phonetic confusion or acoustic confusion alone in accented speech, with a significant 5.7% absolute WER reduction, without degrading standard speech recognition.