A Discourse Analysis Approach to Structured Speech

Lisa J. Stifelman

Given a recording of a lecture, one cannot easily locate a topic of interest, or skim for important points. However, by presenting the user with a summary of a discourse, listening to speech can be made more efficient. One approach to the problem of summarizing and skimming speech has been termed "emphasis detection." This study evaluates an emphasis detection approach by comparing the speech segments selected by the algorithm with a hierarchical segmentation of a discourse sample. The results show that a high percentage of segments selected by the algorithm correspond to discourse boundaries, in particular, segment beginnings in the discourse structure. Further analysis is needed to identify cues that distinguish the hierarchical structure. The ultimate goal is to determine whether it is feasible to "outline" speech recordings using intonational and limited text-based analyses.

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