The language acquisition literature shows that children do not build their lexicon by segmenting the spoken input into phonemes and then building up words from them, but rather adopt a top-down approach and start by segmenting word-like units and then break them down into smaller units. This suggests that the ideal way of learning a language is by starting from full semantic units. In this paper, we investigate if this is also the case for a neural model of Visually Grounded Speech trained on a speech-image retrieval task. We evaluated how well such a network is able to learn a reliable speech-to-image mapping when provided with phone, syllable, or word boundary information. We present a simple way to introduce such information into an RNN-based model and investigate which type of boundary is the most efficient. We also explore at which level of the network’s architecture such information should be introduced so as to maximise its performances. Finally, we show that using multiple boundary types at once in a hierarchical structure, by which low-level segments are used to recompose high-level segments, is beneficial and yields better results than using low-level or high-level segments in isolation.
The CMU Wilderness Multilingual Speech Dataset (Black, 2019) is a newly published multilingual speech dataset based on recorded readings of the New Testament. It provides data to build Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) and Text-to-Speech (TTS) models for potentially 700 languages. However, the fact that the source content (the Bible) is the same for all the languages is not exploited to date.Therefore, this article proposes to add multilingual links between speech segments in different languages, and shares a large and clean dataset of 8,130 parallel spoken utterances across 8 languages (56 language pairs). We name this corpus MaSS (Multilingual corpus of Sentence-aligned Spoken utterances). The covered languages (Basque, English, Finnish, French, Hungarian, Romanian, Russian and Spanish) allow researches on speech-to-speech alignment as well as on translation for typologically different language pairs. The quality of the final corpus is attested by human evaluation performed on a corpus subset (100 utterances, 8 language pairs). Lastly, we showcase the usefulness of the final product on a bilingual speech retrieval task.
In spite of the recent success of Dialogue Act (DA) classification, the majority of prior works focus on text-based classification with oracle transcriptions, i.e. human transcriptions, instead of Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR)’s transcriptions. In spoken dialog systems, however, the agent would only have access to noisy ASR transcriptions, which may further suffer performance degradation due to domain shift. In this paper, we explore the effectiveness of using both acoustic and textual signals, either oracle or ASR transcriptions, and investigate speaker domain adaptation for DA classification. Our multimodal model proves to be superior to the unimodal models, particularly when the oracle transcriptions are not available. We also propose an effective method for speaker domain adaptation, which achieves competitive results.