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A Default Hierarchy for Pronouncing English
September 1991 (vol. 13 no. 9)
pp. 957-964

The authors study the principles governing the power and efficiency of the default hierarchy, a system of knowledge acquisition and representation. The default hierarchy trains automatically, yet yields a set of rules which can be easily assessed and analyzed. Rules are organized in a hierarchical structure containing general (default) and specific rules. In training the hierarchy, general rules are learned before specific rules. In using the hierarchy, specific rules are accessed first, with default rules used when no specific rules apply. The main results concern the properties of the default hierarchy architecture, as revealed by its application to English pronunciation. Evaluating the hierarchy as a pronouncer of English, the authors find that its rules capture several key features of English spelling. The default hierarchy pronounces English better than the neural network NETtalk, and almost as well as expert-devised systems.

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Index Terms:
knowledge representation; speech synthesis; speech intelligibility; learning systems; default hierarchy; knowledge acquisition; default rules; English pronunciation; spelling; knowledge acquisition; knowledge representation; learning systems; natural languages; speech intelligibility; speech synthesis
J. Hochberg, S.M. Mniszewski, T. Calleja, G.J. Papcun, "A Default Hierarchy for Pronouncing English," IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, vol. 13, no. 9, pp. 957-964, Sept. 1991, doi:10.1109/34.93813
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