A Breathing Synthesizer: Breaks across Different Functional Styles Cover Image

Hingav süntesaator ja pausid tekstiliigiti
A Breathing Synthesizer: Breaks across Different Functional Styles

Author(s): Hille Pajupuu, Krista Kerge
Subject(s): Language and Literature Studies
Published by: SA Kultuurileht
Keywords: Estonian; speech synthesis; breaks; breathing; text type; functional style; news; literary text (fiction)

Summary/Abstract: Synthetic speech is getting ever more natural like. One of the interests of the last decade has been how to make it sound more emotional. Natural intonation has also been an ideal pursued by Estonian text-to-speech synthesizers. One of the important domains here is breaks and breathing characteristic of natural speech, which, however, has not hitherto received due attention. The analysis reported concerns the possible correlation of breaks, incl. breathing pauses and their duration, with certain syntactic features, explored in the hope to find some formal characteristics enabling the formalization of breathing for Estonian text-to-speech synthesis. Having studied breaks and breathing in two types of text, i.e in different functional styles (news and fiction), read by professionals, the authors conclude that in a journalistic text, 96% of pauses are syntactically determined, being either caused by a punctuation mark (90%) or following coordinating connectives like ja/ning ’and’ (6%). Additional breaks can be formalized before proper names (mainly in the focus of a sentence) and longer cardinal phrases. In the case of a journalistic text breathing pauses invariably occur at the boundary of a prosodic group (a paragraph in the written text) and between sentences (full stop). Reading fiction, however, one is motivated emotionally; an actor makes breaks according to content, while only 68% of the breaks are bounded to punctuation (66%) and connectives (2%).

  • Issue Year: XLIX/2006
  • Issue No: 03
  • Page Range: 202-210
  • Page Count: 9
  • Language: Estonian