Discrete Speech Systems

Discrete speech was used by the early speech recognition programs. The user had to make a short pause between words as they were dictated. Discrete speech systems were particularly useful for people having difficulties in forming complete phrases in one utterance. The focus on one word at a time was also useful for people with a learning difficulty.

Today continuous speech recognition systems dominate. However, discrete systems, which require the user to speak with a short pause between each word, can still be more useful in some situations than continuous speech systems:

• For people with speech and language difficulties it can be very difficult to produce continuous speech. Discrete speech systems are more effective at recognising non-standard speech patterns, such as dysarthric speech.

• Some people with writing difficulties benefit from concentrating on a single word at a time that is implicit in the use of a discrete system. In the continuous speech people need to be able to speak at least a few words, with no pause, to get a good level of recognition. Problems can appear if one changes his/her mind about a word, in the middle of a sentence.

• Children in school need to learn to distinguish between spoken English and written English. In a discrete system it is easier to do, since attention is focused on individual words.

However, discrete speech is an un-natural way of speaking, whereas continuous speech systems allow the user to speak with a natural flow at a normal conversational speed.


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