4/18/2018 Patent Serial No. 9,947,322 NAU Case 2013-015
Title: “Systems and Methods for Automated Evaluation of Human Speech”
This invention is a method of detecting prosody in human speech in terms of prominent syllables, tone units, and tonic syllable tone choices as defined by David Brazil’s framework for representing prosodic features in discourse. It automatically determines these communicative features from a raw audio wave file in steps: 1) determine the phones that make up the utterance, 2) group the phones into syllables, 3) identify the prominent syllables, 4) divide the utterance into tone units, 5) determine the tone (falling, rising, rising-falling, falling-rising, or neutral) of the tonic syllables (last prominent syllable in a tone unit), and 6) determine the pitch (low, mid, or high) of the tonic syllables. The invention develops a program, which can be used for language learners, teachers, linguists, electronic engineers, computer scientists, or anyone in speech communication, who wish to better operationalize the property of human speech into a machine. Employing a text-independent system, the current invention provides a unique model for salient features of prosody in spoken parameters and integrates the stress and pitch tone features relevant to improving the performance of automated speech systems.