Rules and Algorithms for Phonetic Transcription of Standard Malay

Yousif A. EL-IMAM  Zuraidah Mohd DON  

IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Information and Systems   Vol.E88-D   No.10   pp.2354-2372
Publication Date: 2005/10/01
Online ISSN: 
DOI: 10.1093/ietisy/e88-d.10.2354
Print ISSN: 0916-8532
Type of Manuscript: PAPER
Category: Speech and Hearing
grapheme-to-phoneme conversion,  Standard Malay phonology and phonetics,  speech synthesis,  text-to-speech conversion,  

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Phonetic transcription of text is an indispensable component of text-to-speech (TTS) systems and is used in acoustic modeling for speech recognition and other natural language processing applications. One approach to the transcription of written text into phonetic entities or sounds is to use a set of well-defined context and language-dependent rules. The process of transcribing text into sounds starts by preprocessing the text and representing it by lexical items to which the rules are applicable. The rules can be segregated into phonemic and phonetic rules. Phonemic rules operate on graphemes to convert them into phonemes. Phonetic rules operate on phonemes and convert them into context-dependent phonetic entities with actual sounds. Converting from written text into actual sounds, developing a comprehensive set of rules, and transforming the rules into implementable algorithms for any language cause several problems that have their origins in the relative lack of correspondence between the spelling of the lexical items and their sound contents. For Standard Malay (SM) these problems are not as severe as those for languages of complex spelling systems, such as English and French, but they do exist. In this paper, developing a comprehensive computerized system for processing SM text and transcribing it into phonetic entities and evaluating the performance of this system, irrespective of the application, is discussed. In particular, the following issues are dealt with in this paper: (1) the spelling and other problems of SM writing and their impact on converting graphemes into phonemes, (2) the development of a comprehensive set of grapheme-to-phoneme rules for SM, (3) a description of the phonetic variations of SM or how the phonemes of SM vary in context and the development of a set of phoneme-to-phonetic transcription rules, (4) the formulation of the phonemic and phonetic rules into algorithms that are applicable to the computer-based processing of input SM text, and (5) the evaluation of the performance of the process of converting SM text into actual sounds by the above mentioned methods.