February 29, 2012

Recent MIT Ph.D. thesis on crowdsourced pronunciation assessment

I've received a handful of emails asking where to read about the latest technology in pronunciation assessment for language learning. While there's plenty to see in Google Scholar, too much of it is overly specialized or otherwise esoteric. Mitchell Peabody earned his Ph.D. from MIT last year and published this fantastic thesis which not only covers all the important aspects of the field (including both acoustic and edit distance scoring hybridization) but does so in a way which should be accessible for most people with a basic computer science background. But the best part is that it goes into great detail on crowdsourced phonetic labeling, as well as what Peabody calls "vowel anchoring" which I think is a tremendous improvement in scoring. Add it to your reading list!