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Research-publishing.net, Paper presented at the 2015 EUROCALL Conference (22nd, Padova, Italy, Aug 26-29, 2015)

Text-To-Speech (TTS) synthesizers have piqued the interest of researchers for their potential to enhance the L2 acquisition of writing (Kirstein, 2006), vocabulary and reading (Proctor, Dalton, & Grisham, 2007) and pronunciation (Cardoso, Collins, & White, 2012; Soler-Urzua, 2011). Despite their proven effectiveness, there is a need for up-to-date formal evaluations of TTS systems. The present study was an attempt to evaluate the language learning potential of an up-to-date TTS system at two levels: (1) speech quality (comprehensibility, naturalness, accuracy, and intelligibility) and (2) focus on a linguistic form (via a feature identification task). For Task 1, participants listened to and rated human- and TTS-produced stories and sentences on a 6-point scale (1); for Task 2, they listened to 16 human- and TTS-produced sentences to identify the presence of a target feature (English regular past -ed). Results of paired samples t-tests indicated that for speech quality, the human samples earned higher ratings than the TTS samples. For the second task (past -ed perception), the TTS and human-produced samples were equivalent. The discussion of the findings will highlight how TTS can be used to complement and enhance the teaching of L2 pronunciation and other linguistic skills both inside and outside the classroom. [For full proceedings, see ED564162.]

Descriptors: Assistive Technology, Audio Equipment, Computer Mediated Communication, Program Evaluation, Oral Language, Usability, Statistical Analysis, Second Language Instruction, Second Language Learning, Pronunciation Instruction, Language Skills, Computer Assisted Instruction, College Students, Foreign Countries, Speech

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Author: Cardoso, Walcir; Smith, George; Fuentes, Cesar Garcia

Source: https://eric.ed.gov/?q=a&ft=on&ff1=dtySince_1992&pg=751&id=ED564181

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