14th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-14)

San Francisco, CA, USA
August 1-7, 1999

Pronunciation Variants in French: Schwa and Liaison

Martine Adda-Decker, Philippe Boula de Mareüil, Lori Lamel

Spoken Language Processing Group, LIMSI-CNRS, Orsay, France

In this communication, we focus on well-known pronunciation variants in French, which are style-related and also partially depend on the speakers' socio-cultural background: the so-called mute e (or schwa) and liaisons (sandhi phenomena). We compare the occurrence of such pronunciation variants in large corpora of orthographically transcribed speech: the BREF corpus comprised of 120 hours of read newspaper speech and a portion of the MASK corpus containing 35 hours of spontaneous speech collected via a travel information dialog system. Phonemic transcriptions of the speech corpora were automatically obtained by aligning the acoustic data with a pronunciation graph, derived by expanding the orthographic transcription using a pronunciation dictionary which includes relevant variants. The frequency of occurrence of schwas and liaisons were computed from the aligned phonemic transcriptions, and the effect of lexical frequency is investigated.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Adda-Decker, Martine / Boula de Mareüil, Philippe / Lamel, Lori (1999): "Pronunciation variants in French: schwa and liaison", In ICPhS-14, 2239-2242.