About Automatic German Phonetic Transcription and Syllable Analysis

Detailed Sketch of the Analysis

  1. Find syllable borders:
    1. Find the letters standing for vowels in an orthographic word
    2. Proceeding from each vowel and moving to the left, try to find the beginning of each syllable, by maximizing its onset.
    3. If a transition is reached from a letter standing for a less sonorous consonant to a more sonorous one (or else if the beginning of the word is reached), mark the beginning of the syllable (e.g. ...bre... cannot be maximized into ...nbre..., since /n/ is more sonorous than /b/).
    4. Forbid certain syllable structures that are impossible in German (e.g. bme- is a phonologically possible syllable, but not valid in German)
    5. Any left over material on the right joins the final syllable
  2. Find stress:
    1. Assume that the stress is on the first syllable
    2. If an unstressed prefix is found, move the stress to the next syllable (e.g. assume the prefix ver- is unstressed)
    3. If a stressed suffix is found, move the stress to it (e.g. -tion is stressed)
  3. Render the orthographic form phonetically:
    1. Substitute IPA symbols for consonants and vowels (e.g. <sch> stands for /ʃ/)
    2. Use cues to find vowel tenseness/length (e.g. double consonant spelling indicates lax vowel in <bitte>)
    3. Assume open syllables are long/tense and closed heavy syllables are short/lax
    4. Apply German phonetic processes (e.g. syllable final devoicing)
  4. Create syllable analysis graph:
    1. Assume each syllable has a nucleus (most sonorous element)
    2. Everything to the left of the nucleus is the onset, everything to the right is the coda
    3. Open, lax, stressed syllables form a syllable joint with the next syllable if it begins with a simple onset (e.g. /t/ belongs to both syllables in <bitte>).


© 2008-2014 Amir Zeldes