Departmental Papers (CIS)

Date of this Version

August 2007

Document Type

Conference Paper


Presented at Proceedings of Interspeech, 2007, August 2007.


We describe the results of large scale perception experiments showing improvements in synthesising two distinct kinds of prominence: standard pitch-accent and strong emphatic accents. Previously prominence assignment has been mainly evaluated by computing accuracy on a prominence-labelled test set. By contrast we integrated an automatic pitch-accent classifier into the unit selection target cost and showed that listeners preferred these synthesised sentences. We also describe an improved recording script for collecting emphatic accents, and show that generating emphatic accents leads to further improvements in the fiction genre over incorporating pitch accent only. Finally, we show differences in the effects of prominence between child-directed speech and news and fiction genres.


speech synthesis, prosody, prominence, pitch accent, unit selection



Date Posted: 11 December 2008