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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Synthesis of stops, fricatives, liquids and vowels by a computer controlled electronic vocal tract analog Spencer, Kenneth Albert

Abstract

The speech synthesizer described in this thesis is a computer-controlled solid-state analog of the human articulatory system. The synthesizer's design overcomes two serious difficulties which have previously hampered vocal tract analog realization; namely, the realization of time-varying inductors and capacitors which require a minimum of computer service and whose important parameters are relatively insensitive to large variations in terminal voltage and current, signal frequency, and instantaneous element value; and the realization of a control scheme which requires a minimum of computer storage capacity and service to the synthesizer. Present software provides control for the articulatory analog, allows on-line construction, evaluation, and modification of words, displays articulatory parameters during speech production, and provides for automatic checkout of synthesizer hardware. The analog was used to synthesize vowels, semi-vowels, fricatives, stops, and English words. Spectrograms of synthesized phonemes were compared to published data. Articulator positions and timing parameters for synthesized phoneme sequences and English words were evaluated using subjective listening tests. Fifty English words were synthesized to demonstrate intelligibility, structure and complexity of synthesis rules, and to demonstrate that the synthesizer's accent can be learned quickly.

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