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"speech": models, code, and papers

Speaker Extraction with Co-Speech Gestures Cue

Mar 31, 2022
Zexu Pan, Xinyuan Qian, Haizhou Li

Speaker extraction seeks to extract the clean speech of a target speaker from a multi-talker mixture speech. There have been studies to use a pre-recorded speech sample or face image of the target speaker as the speaker cue. In human communication, co-speech gestures that are naturally timed with speech also contribute to speech perception. In this work, we explore the use of co-speech gestures sequence, e.g. hand and body movements, as the speaker cue for speaker extraction, which could be easily obtained from low-resolution video recordings, thus more available than face recordings. We propose two networks using the co-speech gestures cue to perform attentive listening on the target speaker, one that implicitly fuses the co-speech gestures cue in the speaker extraction process, the other performs speech separation first, followed by explicitly using the co-speech gestures cue to associate a separated speech to the target speaker. The experimental results show that the co-speech gestures cue is informative in associating the target speaker, and the quality of the extracted speech shows significant improvements over the unprocessed mixture speech.


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A Conformer-based ASR Frontend for Joint Acoustic Echo Cancellation, Speech Enhancement and Speech Separation

Nov 18, 2021
Tom O'Malley, Arun Narayanan, Quan Wang, Alex Park, James Walker, Nathan Howard

We present a frontend for improving robustness of automatic speech recognition (ASR), that jointly implements three modules within a single model: acoustic echo cancellation, speech enhancement, and speech separation. This is achieved by using a contextual enhancement neural network that can optionally make use of different types of side inputs: (1) a reference signal of the playback audio, which is necessary for echo cancellation; (2) a noise context, which is useful for speech enhancement; and (3) an embedding vector representing the voice characteristic of the target speaker of interest, which is not only critical in speech separation, but also helpful for echo cancellation and speech enhancement. We present detailed evaluations to show that the joint model performs almost as well as the task-specific models, and significantly reduces word error rate in noisy conditions even when using a large-scale state-of-the-art ASR model. Compared to the noisy baseline, the joint model reduces the word error rate in low signal-to-noise ratio conditions by at least 71% on our echo cancellation dataset, 10% on our noisy dataset, and 26% on our multi-speaker dataset. Compared to task-specific models, the joint model performs within 10% on our echo cancellation dataset, 2% on the noisy dataset, and 3% on the multi-speaker dataset.

* Will appear in IEEE-ASRU 2021 

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Using Deep Learning Techniques and Inferential Speech Statistics for AI Synthesised Speech Recognition

Jul 23, 2021
Arun Kumar Singh, Priyanka Singh, Karan Nathwani

The recent developments in technology have re-warded us with amazing audio synthesis models like TACOTRON and WAVENETS. On the other side, it poses greater threats such as speech clones and deep fakes, that may go undetected. To tackle these alarming situations, there is an urgent need to propose models that can help discriminate a synthesized speech from an actual human speech and also identify the source of such a synthesis. Here, we propose a model based on Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) and Bidirectional Recurrent Neural Network (BiRNN) that helps to achieve both the aforementioned objectives. The temporal dependencies present in AI synthesized speech are exploited using Bidirectional RNN and CNN. The model outperforms the state-of-the-art approaches by classifying the AI synthesized audio from real human speech with an error rate of 1.9% and detecting the underlying architecture with an accuracy of 97%.

* 13 Pages, 13 Figures, 6 Tables. arXiv admin note: substantial text overlap with arXiv:2009.01934 

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CSTNet: Contrastive Speech Translation Network for Self-Supervised Speech Representation Learning

Jun 04, 2020
Sameer Khurana, Antoine Laurent, James Glass

More than half of the 7,000 languages in the world are in imminent danger of going extinct. Traditional methods of documenting language proceed by collecting audio data followed by manual annotation by trained linguists at different levels of granularity. This time consuming and painstaking process could benefit from machine learning. Many endangered languages do not have any orthographic form but usually have speakers that are bi-lingual and trained in a high resource language. It is relatively easy to obtain textual translations corresponding to speech. In this work, we provide a multimodal machine learning framework for speech representation learning by exploiting the correlations between the two modalities namely speech and its corresponding text translation. Here, we construct a convolutional neural network audio encoder capable of extracting linguistic representations from speech. The audio encoder is trained to perform a speech-translation retrieval task in a contrastive learning framework. By evaluating the learned representations on a phone recognition task, we demonstrate that linguistic representations emerge in the audio encoder's internal representations as a by-product of learning to perform the retrieval task.

* submitted to INTERSPEECH 

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Exploiting Hidden Representations from a DNN-based Speech Recogniser for Speech Intelligibility Prediction in Hearing-impaired Listeners

Apr 08, 2022
Zehai Tu, Ning Ma, Jon Barker

An accurate objective speech intelligibility prediction algorithms is of great interest for many applications such as speech enhancement for hearing aids. Most algorithms measures the signal-to-noise ratios or correlations between the acoustic features of clean reference signals and degraded signals. However, these hand-picked acoustic features are usually not explicitly correlated with recognition. Meanwhile, deep neural network (DNN) based automatic speech recogniser (ASR) is approaching human performance in some speech recognition tasks. This work leverages the hidden representations from DNN-based ASR as features for speech intelligibility prediction in hearing-impaired listeners. The experiments based on a hearing aid intelligibility database show that the proposed method could make better prediction than a widely used short-time objective intelligibility (STOI) based binaural measure.

* Submitted to INTERSPEECH2022 

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Speech Map: A Statistical Multimodal Atlas of 4D Tongue Motion During Speech from Tagged and Cine MR Images

Sep 15, 2018
Jonghye Woo, Fangxu Xing, Maureen Stone, Jordan Green, Timothy G. Reese, Thomas J. Brady, Van J. Wedeen, Jerry L. Prince, Georges El Fakhri

Quantitative measurement of functional and anatomical traits of 4D tongue motion in the course of speech or other lingual behaviors remains a major challenge in scientific research and clinical applications. Here, we introduce a statistical multimodal atlas of 4D tongue motion using healthy subjects, which enables a combined quantitative characterization of tongue motion in a reference anatomical configuration. This atlas framework, termed Speech Map, combines cine- and tagged-MRI in order to provide both the anatomic reference and motion information during speech. Our approach involves a series of steps including (1) construction of a common reference anatomical configuration from cine-MRI, (2) motion estimation from tagged-MRI, (3) transformation of the motion estimations to the reference anatomical configuration, and (4) computation of motion quantities such as Lagrangian strain. Using this framework, the anatomic configuration of the tongue appears motionless, while the motion fields and associated strain measurements change over the time course of speech. In addition, to form a succinct representation of the high-dimensional and complex motion fields, principal component analysis is carried out to characterize the central tendencies and variations of motion fields of our speech tasks. Our proposed method provides a platform to quantitatively and objectively explain the differences and variability of tongue motion by illuminating internal motion and strain that have so far been intractable. The findings are used to understand how tongue function for speech is limited by abnormal internal motion and strain in glossectomy patients.

* Accepted at Journal of Computer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering 

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Modeling speech recognition and synthesis simultaneously: Encoding and decoding lexical and sublexical semantic information into speech with no direct access to speech data

Mar 29, 2022
Gašper Beguš, Alan Zhou

Human speakers encode information into raw speech which is then decoded by the listeners. This complex relationship between encoding (production) and decoding (perception) is often modeled separately. Here, we test how encoding and decoding of lexical semantic information can emerge automatically from raw speech in unsupervised generative deep convolutional networks that combine the production and perception principles of speech. We introduce, to our knowledge, the most challenging objective in unsupervised lexical learning: a network that must learn unique representations for lexical items with no direct access to training data. We train several models (ciwGAN and fiwGAN arXiv:2006.02951) and test how the networks classify acoustic lexical items in unobserved test data. Strong evidence in favor of lexical learning and a causal relationship between latent codes and meaningful sublexical units emerge. The architecture that combines the production and perception principles is thus able to learn to decode unique information from raw acoustic data without accessing real training data directly. We propose a technique to explore lexical (holistic) and sublexical (featural) learned representations in the classifier network. The results bear implications for unsupervised speech technology, as well as for unsupervised semantic modeling as language models increasingly bypass text and operate from raw acoustics.

* Submitted to Interspeech 2022 

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Spectral feature mapping with mimic loss for robust speech recognition

Mar 26, 2018
Deblin Bagchi, Peter Plantinga, Adam Stiff, Eric Fosler-Lussier

For the task of speech enhancement, local learning objectives are agnostic to phonetic structures helpful for speech recognition. We propose to add a global criterion to ensure de-noised speech is useful for downstream tasks like ASR. We first train a spectral classifier on clean speech to predict senone labels. Then, the spectral classifier is joined with our speech enhancer as a noisy speech recognizer. This model is taught to imitate the output of the spectral classifier alone on clean speech. This \textit{mimic loss} is combined with the traditional local criterion to train the speech enhancer to produce de-noised speech. Feeding the de-noised speech to an off-the-shelf Kaldi training recipe for the CHiME-2 corpus shows significant improvements in WER.


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Lexical Access Model for Italian -- Modeling human speech processing: identification of words in running speech toward lexical access based on the detection of landmarks and other acoustic cues to features

Jun 24, 2021
Maria-Gabriella Di Benedetto, Stefanie Shattuck-Hufnagel, Jeung-Yoon Choi, Luca De Nardis, Javier Arango, Ian Chan, Alec DeCaprio

Modelling the process that a listener actuates in deriving the words intended by a speaker requires setting a hypothesis on how lexical items are stored in memory. This work aims at developing a system that imitates humans when identifying words in running speech and, in this way, provide a framework to better understand human speech processing. We build a speech recognizer for Italian based on the principles of Stevens' model of Lexical Access in which words are stored as hierarchical arrangements of distinctive features (Stevens, K. N. (2002). "Toward a model for lexical access based on acoustic landmarks and distinctive features," J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 111(4):1872-1891). Over the past few decades, the Speech Communication Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) developed a speech recognition system for English based on this approach. Italian will be the first language beyond English to be explored; the extension to another language provides the opportunity to test the hypothesis that words are represented in memory as a set of hierarchically-arranged distinctive features, and reveal which of the underlying mechanisms may have a language-independent nature. This paper also introduces a new Lexical Access corpus, the LaMIT database, created and labeled specifically for this work, that will be provided freely to the speech research community. Future developments will test the hypothesis that specific acoustic discontinuities - called landmarks - that serve as cues to features, are language independent, while other cues may be language-dependent, with powerful implications for understanding how the human brain recognizes speech.

* Submitted to Language and Speech, 2021 

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Improving Noise Robustness of Contrastive Speech Representation Learning with Speech Reconstruction

Oct 28, 2021
Heming Wang, Yao Qian, Xiaofei Wang, Yiming Wang, Chengyi Wang, Shujie Liu, Takuya Yoshioka, Jinyu Li, DeLiang Wang

Noise robustness is essential for deploying automatic speech recognition (ASR) systems in real-world environments. One way to reduce the effect of noise interference is to employ a preprocessing module that conducts speech enhancement, and then feed the enhanced speech to an ASR backend. In this work, instead of suppressing background noise with a conventional cascaded pipeline, we employ a noise-robust representation learned by a refined self-supervised framework for noisy speech recognition. We propose to combine a reconstruction module with contrastive learning and perform multi-task continual pre-training on noisy data. The reconstruction module is used for auxiliary learning to improve the noise robustness of the learned representation and thus is not required during inference. Experiments demonstrate the effectiveness of our proposed method. Our model substantially reduces the word error rate (WER) for the synthesized noisy LibriSpeech test sets, and yields around 4.1/7.5% WER reduction on noisy clean/other test sets compared to data augmentation. For the real-world noisy speech from the CHiME-4 challenge (1-channel track), we have obtained the state of the art ASR performance without any denoising front-end. Moreover, we achieve comparable performance to the best supervised approach reported with only 16% of labeled data.

* 5 pages, 1 figure, submitted to ICASSP 2022 

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