Evaluating Features and Metrics for High-Quality Simulation of Early Vocal Learning of Vowels

20 May 2020  ·  Branislav Gerazov, Daniel van Niekerk, Anqi Xu, Paul Konstantin Krug, Peter Birkholz, Yi Xu ·

The way infants use auditory cues to learn to speak despite the acoustic mismatch of their vocal apparatus is a hot topic of scientific debate. The simulation of early vocal learning using articulatory speech synthesis offers a way towards gaining a deeper understanding of this process. One of the crucial parameters in these simulations is the choice of features and a metric to evaluate the acoustic error between the synthesised sound and the reference target. We contribute with evaluating the performance of a set of 40 feature-metric combinations for the task of optimising the production of static vowels with a high-quality articulatory synthesiser. Towards this end we assess the usability of formant error and the projection of the feature-metric error surface in the normalised F1-F2 formant space. We show that this approach can be used to evaluate the impact of features and metrics and also to offer insight to perceptual results.

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