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SpeakEasy. The Computer Speaks. SpeakEasy. Welcome to the Epcot Center. First -- some background for you. SpeakEasy. What is it? . SpeakEasy is the name of the computer program that enables the computer to speak with the inflection and timing we expect to hear in a human speaker.

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Presentation Transcript
the computer speaks

SpeakEasy

The Computer Speaks

slide3

Welcome to the Epcot Center

First --

some background for you.

what is it

SpeakEasy

What is it?
  • SpeakEasy is the name of the computer program that enables the computer to speak with the inflection and timing we expect to hear in a human speaker.
  • Why do computers have to sound lifeless and dull? Answer: They don’t!
slide5

SpeakEasy

was developed by John Goldsmith,

and is the joint product of

The University of Chicago’s

Department of Linguistics

and

Microsoft Research.

the university of chicago and microsoft corporation
The University of Chicago

One of the leading research institutes in the world

A private university established by John D. Rockefeller in 1892

Microsoft Research in Redmond WA

The research arm of the Microsoft Corporation

Research and development with applications of linguistics to real world problems

THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO andMicrosoft Corporation
speakeasy was designed to mesh with two of microsoft s language projects
NLPWin

A robust parser of written English...

Whistler

A synthetic voice which the computer can use to speak

SpeakEasy was designed to mesh with two of Microsoft’s language projects...
slide8

To make the computer’s voice vivid and life-like,

what we need to give it is:

Prosody.

slide9

Prosody:

  • Intonation (what many people call “inflection”) , and
  • Timing and pausing.
slide10

Speech without a prosody system?!

  • This is what a computer sounds like without -- and with -- prosody:
slide11

Let’s hear that again ...

SpeakEasy

First, with prosody

and then without prosody

slide12

Compare a different computer

voice, using only a rudimentary

prosodic system:

Click!

Click here for SpeakEasy’s

rendition:

Click!

slide13

What really happens to make

a sentence come to life?

First, we enter the sentence.

Then it goes to the parser, NLPWin.

NLPWin analyzes the sentence and

sends the analysis back to SpeakEasy.

SpeakEasy designs the prosody...

And sends all of that to the

Backend for synthesis.

slide14

Full specification of the utterance

NLPWin sends a grammatical analysis

Whistler

backend

synthesizer

NLPWin

SpeakEasy

Welcome to the Epcot Center

slide15

Let’s look at that again. Here’s what happens when we want the computer to speak a sentence out loud.

Suppose it’s this:

“This sentence has been pronounced for you by Speakeasy.”

slide16

“This” is a determiner.

“sentence” is a noun.

“has” is an auxiliary verb.

….“by” is a preposition.

“SpeakEasy” is a noun.

SpeakEasy

computes

the intonation…

NLPWin

Parser

and Whistler provides the voice.

“This sentence has been pronounced for you by Speakeasy.”

can a computer have a funny bone
Can a computer have a funny bone?

Read to you by

SpeakEasy

slide18

Would you like to learn more about

the ideas that went into the design

of SpeakEasy?

slide19

Here’s some of what the computer sees:

Here is the sentence

Here are the tones used

And here is the pitch!

Click here

slide20

Prosody is computed in two steps:

  • First, we establish the right tones for the sentence;
  • Then we translate that into pitches that the synthesizer can understand.

First, the tones:

slide21

We can go see the

Epcot Center

today.

Now the pitches:

slide22

Now, maybe that’s not exactly

what we meant to say.

SpeakEasy is not, unfortunately,

a mind-reader.

Maybe you meant to say this:

slide23

Do you hear the difference?

Here they are again.

slide24

Whistler provides for the user

(a human user, or another program)

to control which intonation should

be used in cases like that.

slide25

Questions are very tough for the computer to get right.

So much depends on exactly what it is that you mean

to ask -- and how you mean to put it.

slide26

Yes/no questions normally rise at the end:

But who-what-questions don’t ….

slide27

Questions based on the wh-word (who, what, where,

when, how, why) don’t rise at the end -- did you ever

notice that?

Where do you want to go today?

slide28

Here’s something you probably never thought of.

When you use a noun for the second time in a

sentence, you usually say it without its normal

degree of stress.

If we don’t teach the computer to do that too,

we get a funny sentence. Listen:

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

That’s not right! Here’s how it should be said:

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

slide29

What else can

SpeakEasy do?

slide30

SpeakEasy helped WBEZ, the National Public Radio Station in Chicago, with its fund-raising this spring.

  • Don’t forget to call this number: 1 888 YOUR NPR
slide31

SpeakEasy can read

the Berenstain Bears….

SpeakEasy could read a

story to a child -- or provide

the voice for an interactive

computer game.

slide32

SpeakEasy

Well, there you have it. Thanks for stopping by,

and thanks for listening.

NLP and Whistler go together well.

Don’t be surprised if

you hear from me again before too long…

Tal vez en español, ou français, oder Deutsch.

Sayo:nara -- or, as Americans say,

Sayonara!