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Journal Article

Schwa-deletion in Hindi text-to-speech synthesis


Narasimhan,  Bhuvana
Language Acquisition Group, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society;
Other Research, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society;

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Narasimhan, B., Sproat, R., & Kiraz, G. (2004). Schwa-deletion in Hindi text-to-speech synthesis. International Journal of Speech Technology, 7(4), 319-333. doi:10.1023/B:IJST.0000037075.71599.62.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0013-1AA7-8
We describe the phenomenon of schwa-deletion in Hindi and how it is handled in the pronunciation component of a multilingual concatenative text-to-speech system. Each of the consonants in written Hindi is associated with an “inherent” schwa vowel which is not represented in the orthography. For instance, the Hindi word pronounced as [namak] (’salt’) is represented in the orthography using the consonantal characters for [n], [m], and [k]. Two main factors complicate the issue of schwa pronunciation in Hindi. First, not every schwa following a consonant is pronounced within the word. Second, in multimorphemic words, the presence of a morpheme boundary can block schwa deletion where it might otherwise occur. We propose a model for schwa-deletion which combines a general purpose schwa-deletion rule proposed in the linguistics literature (Ohala, 1983), with additional morphological analysis necessitated by the high frequency of compounds in our database. The system is implemented in the framework of finite-state transducer technology.