[Elsnet-list] PhD - Regional Accents of British English - University of Birmingham

Martin Russell M.J.RUSSELL at bham.ac.uk
Thu Nov 22 16:02:23 CET 2007


PhD Project

 

CHARACTERISATION OF REGIONAL ACCENTS OF BRITISH ENGLISH 

FOR SPEECH TECHNOLOGY

 

Professor Martin Russell

Department of Electronic, Electrical and Computer Engineering

University of Birmingham

Birmingham, B15 2TT

UK.

 

Funding is available for a PhD project in the area of  "Characterisation
of Regional 

Accents of British English for Speech Technology" in the Department of
Electronic,

Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Birmingham.   The
funding is 

sufficient to cover EU fees plus maintenance.

 

If you are interested in this opportunity please contact Professor
Martin Russell 

(m.j.russell at bham.ac.uk) 

 

Summary of project

 

The purpose of this project is to develop new mathematical models which
characterise the 

acoustic properties of regional accents of British English and the
relationships between them, 

and to investigate the application of these models to accent-robust
speech recognition, accent 

identification, and non-native accent detection.  The project will use
the existing "Accents of 

the British Isles" (ABI-1 and ABI-2) corpora of recordings of read and
spontaneous 

conversational speech.  It will move on to consider accented telephone
conversational speech 

as suitable corpora become available.  The project should address the
following issues:

 

(1) Measurement of human accent identification performance, and the
effect of accent on 

human speech recognition of read and spontaneous speech.  Subjective
assessment of the 

'strengths' of the accents of speakers in the ABI corpora.

 

(2) Application of conventional language identification techniques to
the problem of accent 

identification.  

 

(3) Automatic speech recognition (ASR) experiments to measure the effect
of accent on ASR 

performance, and to measure the utility of conventional adaptation
schemes for accent 

adaptation.

 

(4) Development of self-organising topological maps of accent data.  The
objective is to 

understand relationships between acoustic representations of accent, and
to see how this 

correlates with geographical or historical relationships. 

 

(5) Accent ID using topological maps.

 

(6) Accent adaptation of acoustic models for ASR.

 

(7) Accent adaptation of pronunciation dictionaries for ASR

 

(8) Detection of non-native-English accents in the context of general
British English.  The 

goal is to study how non-native speakers are mapped onto the topological
maps described 

above, and in particular to determine whether it is possible to detect
non-native speakers 

reliably.  

 

(9) Characterisation of 'compound' accents:  Most talkers' speech is not
'single-accent'.  

Instead their voice is influenced by a number of different regional
accents.  The purpose of 

this task is to determine whether it is possible to detect these
compound accents and 

decompose them into their component streams

 

 

 

Professor Martin Russell

Department of Electronic, Electrical & Computer Engineering

University of Birmingham

Birmingham

B15 2TT

UK

 

Tel: +44 (0) 121 414 3093

Email: m.j.russell at bham.ac.uk

 

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