Send to

Choose Destination
J Acoust Soc Am. 1988 Apr;83(4):1615-26.

Learning the hidden structure of speech.

Author information

Department of Linguistics, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla 92093.


In the work described here, the backpropagation neural network learning procedure is applied to the analysis and recognition of speech. This procedure takes a set of input/output pattern pairs and attempts to learn their functional relationship; it develops the necessary representational features during the course of learning. A series of computer simulation studies was carried out to assess the ability of these networks to accurately label sounds, to learn to recognize sounds without labels, and to learn feature representations of continuous speech. These studies demonstrated that the networks can learn to label presegmented test tokens with accuracies of up to 95%. Networks trained on segmented sounds using a strategy that requires no external labels were able to recognize and delineate sounds in continuous speech. These networks developed rich internal representations that included units which corresponded to such traditional distinctions as vowels and consonants, as well as units that were sensitive to novel and nonstandard features. Networks trained on a large corpus of unsegmented, continuous speech without labels also developed interesting feature representations, which may be useful in both segmentation and label learning. The results of these studies, while preliminary, demonstrate that backpropagation learning can be used with complex, natural data to identify a feature structure that can serve as the basis for both analysis and nontrivial pattern recognition.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for American Institute of Physics
Loading ...
Support Center