Modeling tone and intonation in Mandarin and English as a process of target approximation

Santitham Prom-on, Yi Xu, Bundit Thipakorn
2009 Journal of the Acoustical Society of America  
This paper reports the development of a quantitative target approximation ͑qTA͒ model for generating F 0 contours of speech. The qTA model simulates the production of tone and intonation as a process of syllable-synchronized sequential target approximation ͓Xu, Y. ͑2005͒. "Speech melody as articulatorily implemented communicative functions," Speech Commun. 46, 220-251͔. It adopts a set of biomechanical and linguistic assumptions about the mechanisms of speech production. The communicative
more » ... communicative functions directly modeled are lexical tone in Mandarin and lexical stress in English and focus in both languages. The qTA model is evaluated by extracting function-specific model parameters from natural speech via supervised learning ͑automatic analysis by synthesis͒ and comparing the F 0 contours generated with the extracted parameters to those of natural utterances through numerical evaluation and perceptual testing. The F 0 contours generated by the qTA model with the learned parameters were very close to the natural contours in terms of root mean square error, rate of human identification of tone, and focus and judgment of naturalness by human listeners. The results demonstrate that the qTA model is both an effective tool for research on tone and intonation and a potentially effective system for automatic synthesis of tone and intonation.
doi:10.1121/1.3037222 pmid:19173427 fatcat:ipwmsbkxbze2hd2xirrmf2bvjq