In this paper, a new technique for the Chinese text-to-speech (TTS) system is proposed. Our major effort focuses on the prosodic information generation. New methodologies for constructing fuzzy rules in a prosodic model simulating human's pronouncing rules are developed. The proposed Recurrent Fuzzy Neural Network (RFNN) is a multilayer recurrent neural network (RNN) which integrates a Self-cOnstructing Neural Fuzzy Inference Network (SONFIN) into a recurrent connectionist structure. The RFNN can be functionally divided into two parts. The first part adopts the SONFIN as a prosodic model to explore the relationship between high-level linguistic features and prosodic information based on fuzzy inference rules. As compared to conventional neural networks, the SONFIN can always construct itself with an economic network size in high learning speed. The second part employs a five-layer network to generate all prosodic parameters by directly using the prosodic fuzzy rules inferred from the first part as well as other important features of syllables. The TTS system combined with the proposed method can behave not only sandhi rules but also the other prosodic phenomena existing in the traditional TTS systems. Moreover, the proposed scheme can even find out some new rules about prosodic phrase structure. The performance of the proposed RFNN-based prosodic model is verified by imbedding it into a Chinese TTS system with a Chinese monosyllable database based on the time-domain pitch synchronous overlap add (TD-PSOLA) method. Our experimental results show that the proposed RFNN can generate proper prosodic parameters including pitch means, pitch shapes, maximum energy levels, syllable duration, and pause duration. Some synthetic sounds are online available for demonstration.
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