Format of Original
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
IEEE Transactions on audio, Speech, and Language Processing
Acoustic-to-articulatory inversion, the estimation of articulatory kinematics from an acoustic waveform, is a challenging but important problem. Accurate estimation of articulatory movements has the potential for significant impact on our understanding of speech production, on our capacity to assess and treat pathologies in a clinical setting, and on speech technologies such as computer aided pronunciation assessment and audio-video synthesis. However, because of the complex and speaker-specific relationship between articulation and acoustics, existing approaches for inversion do not generalize well across speakers. As acquiring speaker-specific kinematic data for training is not feasible in many practical applications, this remains an important and open problem. This paper proposes a novel approach to acoustic-to-articulatory inversion, Parallel Reference Speaker Weighting (PRSW), which requires no kinematic data for the target speaker and a small amount of acoustic adaptation data. PRSW hypothesizes that acoustic and kinematic similarities are correlated and uses speaker-adapted articulatory models derived from acoustically derived weights. The system was assessed using a 20-speaker data set of synchronous acoustic and Electromagnetic Articulography (EMA) kinematic data. Results demonstrate that by restricting the reference group to a subset consisting of speakers with strong individual speaker-dependent inversion performance, the PRSW method is able to attain kinematic-independent acoustic-to-articulatory inversion performance nearly matching that of the speaker-dependent model, with an average correlation of 0.62 versus 0.63. This indicates that given a sufficiently complete and appropriately selected reference speaker set for adaptation, it is possible to create effective articulatory models without kinematic training data.