Representing the Environments for Phonological Processes in an Accent-Independent Lexicon for Synthesis of English
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This paper reports on work developing an accent-independent lexicon for use in synthesising speech in English. Developing a lexicon for a new accent is a long process, and one potential solution to this problem involves the encoding of regional variation by means of keywords; so, rather than transcribing different phonemes for 'pool' in RP and in Scottish accents, we can simply say that the word contains the same vowel as in the keyword GOOSE. However, there are a number of theoretical and practical issues, which are discussed here. It is proposed that phonemic variation within accents be encoded in the lexicon by use of keyword symbols, while allophonic differences be derived by accent-specific rules. If we wish to include some stylistic variation this makes the lexicon more comprehensive but more complex. Finally, it is noted that even in keyword synthesis exception lists cannot be avoided.