In the realm of spoken language understanding (SLU), numerous natural language understanding (NLU) methodologies have been adapted by supplying large language models (LLMs) with transcribed speech instead of conventional written text. In real-world scenarios, prior to input into an LLM, an automated speech recognition (ASR) system generates an output transcript hypothesis, where inherent errors can degrade subsequent SLU tasks. Here we introduce a method that utilizes the ASR system's lattice output instead of relying solely on the top hypothesis, aiming to encapsulate speech ambiguities and enhance SLU outcomes. Our in-context learning experiments, covering spoken question answering and intent classification, underline the LLM's resilience to noisy speech transcripts with the help of word confusion networks from lattices, bridging the SLU performance gap between using the top ASR hypothesis and an oracle upper bound. Additionally, we delve into the LLM's robustness to varying ASR performance conditions and scrutinize the aspects of in-context learning which prove the most influential.
In this paper, we explore automatic prediction of dialect density of the African American English (AAE) dialect, where dialect density is defined as the percentage of words in an utterance that contain characteristics of the non-standard dialect. We investigate several acoustic and language modeling features, including the commonly used X-vector representation and ComParE feature set, in addition to information extracted from ASR transcripts of the audio files and prosodic information. To address issues of limited labeled data, we use a weakly supervised model to project prosodic and X-vector features into low-dimensional task-relevant representations. An XGBoost model is then used to predict the speaker's dialect density from these features and show which are most significant during inference. We evaluate the utility of these features both alone and in combination for the given task. This work, which does not rely on hand-labeled transcripts, is performed on audio segments from the CORAAL database. We show a significant correlation between our predicted and ground truth dialect density measures for AAE speech in this database and propose this work as a tool for explaining and mitigating bias in speech technology.