Unsupervised Word Segmentation from Speech with Attention

We present a first attempt to perform attentional word segmentation directly from the speech signal, with the final goal to automatically identify lexical units in a low-resource, unwritten language (UL). Our methodology assumes a pairing between recordings in the UL with translations in a well-resourced language. It uses Acoustic Unit Discovery (AUD) to convert speech into a sequence of pseudo-phones that is segmented using neural soft-alignments produced by a neural machine translation model. Evaluation uses an actual Bantu UL, Mboshi; comparisons to monolingual and bilingual baselines illustrate the potential of attentional word segmentation for language documentation.

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