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RE: SSML <break time="none"/>

From: <Alex.Monaghan@Aculab.com>
Date: Tue, 21 Jan 2003 09:58:50 -0000
Message-ID: <8C9A566C643ED6119E8900A0C9DE297A19338F@saturn.aculab.com>
To: www-voice@w3.org

dear hard-working SSML editors,
marc's comment has reminded me to raise a couple of problems with the new
definition of "break".

firstly, i think marc is quite right - <break time="none"> is now equivalent
to the absence of a break tag, which is pointless.
secondly, <break time="none"> SHOULD mean a prosodic break (end of
intonational phrase, boundary tone, or whatever) but no pause. we seem to
have lost the possibility of specifying the end of a multi-word prosodic
chunk which is not marked by a pause, e.g. one which is marked solely by
tonal and/or lengthening phenomena.
thirdly, we have lost the ability to uncouple the strength of the break
(between words, between phrases, between clauses, sentences, paragraphs,
etc.) from the duration of the associated pause. pausing is only one aspect
of prosodic breaks, yet it is now being treated as if it were the only one.
also, in many applications there is a requirement to interleave synthesis
with other audio: it can therefore be extremely useful to be able to specify
a weak break (between words) with a long pause, or a strong break (between
paragraphs) with a short pause. a couple of examples, in case this is not
a) in an educational text about rainforest animals, you might wish to insert
animal noises without interrupting the flow of the narration, as in "The
giant hairy anteater has a bloodcurdling scream (medium-strength break, long
pause for audio sample) but the roar of the okapi (very weak break, long
pause for audio sample) is even more terrifying."
b) in a dialogue between a perky cartoon character and a bookish computer
character, you might wish to have a paragraph read by the bookish character
but let the perky character start speaking immediately after, as in
"(bookish voice) ... and that is the reason why we know that the universe is
banana-shaped. (full end-of-paragraph break, but only a very short pause)
(perky voice) Yes, yes, all very interesting but can I eat the banana now?!"

in conclusion, please bring back the distinction between break strength and
associated pause time, so that they can be specified independently, and make
<break time="none". a default-strength break with no pause.

best wishes,

> -----Original Message-----
> From:	Marc Schroeder [SMTP:schroed@dfki.de]
> Sent:	Tuesday, January 21, 2003 9:26 AM
> To:	www-voice@w3.org
> Subject:	SSML <break time="none"/>
> Hi,
> this is a minor comment regarding the SSML <break> element 
> (http://www.w3.org/TR/2002/WD-speech-synthesis-20021202/#S2.2.3), more 
> specifically regarding the meaning of the attribute value "none" for the 
> time attribute.
> The specification currently defines:
> The value "none" indicates that a normal break boundary should be used.
> This currently seems to make "none" a synonym of "default". Much more 
> useful would be the possibility to explicitly forbid the occurrence of a 
> break where the default rules of a TTS system would (erroneously) place 
> one. I therefore suggest replacing the above sentence with:
> The value "none" indicates that no break boundary should occur.
> Regards,
> Marc Schröder, TTS Researcher at DFKI, Germany
> Responsible for TTS development in the NECA project, 
> http://www.ai.univie.ac.at/NECA
> -- 
> Marc Schröder, Researcher
> DFKI GmbH, Stuhlsatzenhausweg 3, D-66123 Saarbrücken, Germany
> http://www.dfki.de/~schroed
> "If you are happy, you are functioning well."
Received on Tuesday, 21 January 2003 05:03:59 UTC

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