University of Sussex
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Acoustic analysis of Sindhi speech - a pre-curser for an ASR system

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posted on 2023-06-07, 15:45 authored by Ayaz Keerio
The functional and formative properties of speech sounds are usually referred to as acoustic-phonetics in linguistics. This research aims to demonstrate acoustic-phonetic features of the elemental sounds of Sindhi, which is a branch of the Indo-European family of languages mainly spoken in the Sindh province of Pakistan and in some parts of India. In addition to the available articulatory-phonetic knowledge; acoustic-phonetic knowledge has been classified for the identification and classification of Sindhi language sounds. Determining the acoustic features of the language sounds helps to bring together the sounds with similar acoustic characteristics under the name of one natural class of meaningful phonemes. The obtained acoustic features and corresponding statistical results for a particular natural class of phonemes provides a clear understanding of the meaningful phonemes of Sindhi and it also helps to eliminate redundant sounds present in the inventory. At present Sindhi includes nine redundant, three interchanging, three substituting, and three confused pairs of consonant sounds. Some of the unique acoustic-phonetic features of Sindhi highlighted in this study are determining the acoustic features of the large number of the contrastive voiced implosives of Sindhi and the acoustic impact of the language flexibility in terms of the insertion and digestion of the short vowels in the utterance. In addition to this the issue of the presence of the affricate class of sounds and the diphthongs in Sindhi is addressed. The compilation of the meaningful language phoneme set by learning their acoustic-phonetic features serves one of the major goals of this study; because twelve such sounds of Sindhi are studied that are not yet part of the language alphabet. The main acoustic features learned for the phonological structures of Sindhi are the fundamental frequency, formants, and the duration — along with the analysis of the obtained acoustic waveforms, the formant tracks and the computer generated spectrograms. The impetus for doing such research comes from the fact that detailed knowledge of the sound characteristics of the language-elements has a broad variety of applications — from developing accurate synthetic speech production systems to modeling robust speaker-independent speech recognizers. The major research achievements and contributions this study provides in the field include the compilation and classification of the elemental sounds of Sindhi. Comprehensive measurement of the acoustic features of the language sounds; suitable to be incorporated into the design of a Sindhi ASR system. Understanding of the dialect specific acoustic variation of the elemental sounds of Sindhi. A speech database comprising the voice samples of the native Sindhi speakers. Identification of the language‘s redundant, substituting and interchanging pairs of sounds. Identification of the language‘s sounds that can potentially lead to the segmentation and recognition errors for a Sindhi ASR system design. The research achievements of this study create the fundamental building blocks for future work to design a state-of-the-art prototype, which is: gender and environment independent, continuous and conversational ASR system for Sindhi.


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University of Sussex

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