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Proceedings of the Workshop on Computational Methods for Endangered Languages

Abstract

This paper discusses the development and evaluation of a Speech Synthesizer for Plains Cree, an Algonquian language of North America. Synthesis is achieved using Simple4All and evaluation was performed using a modified Cluster Identification, Semantically Unpredictable Sentence, and a basic dichotomized judgment task. Resulting synthesis was not well received; however, observations regarding the process of speech synthesis evaluation in North American indigenous communities were made: chiefly, that tolerance for variation is often much lower in these communities than for majority languages. The evaluator did not recognize grammatically consistent but semantically nonsense strings as licit language. As a result, monosyllabic clusters and semantically unpredictable sentences proved not the most appropriate evaluate tools. Alternative evaluation methods are discussed.

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