Foreign accent conversion in computer assisted pronunciation training. Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Learners of a second language practice their pronunciation by listening to and imitating utterances from native speakers. Recent research has shown that choosing a well-matched native speaker to imitate can have a positive impact on pronunciation training. Here we propose a voice-transformation technique that can be used to generate the (arguably) ideal voice to imitate: the own voice of the learner with a native accent. Our work extends previous research, which suggests that providing learners with prosodically corrected versions of their utterances can be a suitable form of feedback in computer assisted pronunciation training. Our technique provides a conversion of both prosodic and segmental characteristics by means of a pitch-synchronous decomposition of speech into glottal excitation and spectral envelope. We apply the technique to a corpus containing parallel recordings of foreign-accented and native-accented utterances, and validate the resulting accent conversions through a series of perceptual experiments. Our results indicate that the technique can reduce foreign accentedness without significantly altering the voice quality properties of the foreign speaker. Finally, we propose a pedagogical strategy for integrating accent conversion as a form of behavioral shaping in computer assisted pronunciation training.

published proceedings

  • Speech Commun

altmetric score

  • 4

author list (cited authors)

  • Felps, D., Bortfeld, H., & Gutierrez-Osuna, R.

citation count

  • 58

complete list of authors

  • Felps, Daniel||Bortfeld, Heather||Gutierrez-Osuna, Ricardo

publication date

  • October 2009