As a first step toward automatic phonetic analysis of speech, one desires to segment the signal into syllable‐sized units. Experiments were conducted in automatic segmentation techniques for continuous, reading‐rate speech to derive such units. A new segmentation algorithm is described that allows assessment of the significance of a loudness minimum to be a potential syllabic boundary from the difference between the convex hull of the loudness function and the loudness function itself. Tested on roughly 400 syllables of continuous text, the algorithm results in 6.9% syllables missed and 2.6% extra syllables relative to a nominal, slow‐speech syllable count. It is suggested that inclusion of alternative fluent‐form syllabifications for multisyllabic words and the use of phonological rules for predicting syllabic contractions can further improve agreement between predicted and experimental syllable counts.

Subject Classification: 70.40, 70.60.

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