Speech, prosody, and machines: Nine challenges for prosody research
Speech technology is becoming commonplace. Traditional telephony based interactive voice systems have been joined by virtual assistants and navigation systems to create a broad ecosystem of voice enabled technologies. Prosody is an essential component to human communication, but machines still lag in their ability to understand information communicated prosodically and to produce human-like intonation. This paper poses nine challenges designed to effectively and more thoroughly integrate prosody into current speech technologies. These include long-standing and contemporary concerns surrounding the availability and utility of data, gaps in linguistic theory and specific technological issues. Each of these challenges have received some attention, additional work is necessary to bring the role of prosody in speech technology closer to its role in human communication.