University of Cambridge > > CUED Speech Group Seminars > How can speech technologies support learners to improve their skills of speaking, listen-ing, conversation and more?

How can speech technologies support learners to improve their skills of speaking, listen-ing, conversation and more?

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Anton Ragni.

In the globalization era, not only students but also immigrant workers have to learn new languages for smooth oral communication in those languages. In this talk, the lecturer illustrates how speech technologies, i.e. speech synthesis, speech recognition, voice conversion, etc can support learners to improve their skills of speaking, listening, conversation, and more. Text does not show any prosodic structure explicitly and native speakers use their implicit knowledge on prosodic control to read aloud that text naturally. Implicit knowledge is difficult for teachers to explain explicitly and therefore prosody training is rare in classrooms. Text-to-speech systems often use a text-based prosody prediction module and this module is used effectively to teach prosodic control required to read given texts aloud explicitly to learners. In High Variability Phonetic Training (HVPT), teachers use speech stimuli with different ages, genders, accents, background noises, etc. Being exposed to those variabilities, learners can obtain robust listening skills. However, teachers prepare those stimuli manually. By introducing speech analysis and voice conversion techniques, those variabilities are easily enhanced. In the talk, an interesting example of adversarial training, which was originally used for machine learners and is newly introduced to human learners, and its effectiveness for acquiring robust listening skills are explained. Further, use of speech recognition technologies for shadowing assessment to improve parallel processing skills for conversation is described. In the lecturer’s laboratory, a new project has started to realize a novel speech assessment framework, where not native-likeness but comprehensibility of learners’ speech is mainly focused on for assessment. The lecturer shows recently obtained results of objective measurement of comprehensibility of learners’ speech.

This talk is part of the CUED Speech Group Seminars series.

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