This database is comprised of sentences read aloud by children. It was originally designed in order to create a training set of children's speech for the SPHINX II automatic speech recognizer for its use in the LISTEN project at Carnegie Mellon University.
The children range in age from six to eleven (see details below) and were in first through third grades (the 11-year-old was in 6th grade) at the time of recording. There were 24 male and 52 female speakers. Although the girls outnumber the boys, we feel that the small difference in vocal tract length between the two at this age should make the effect of this imbalance negligible. There are 5,180 utterances in all.
The speakers come from two separate populations. Since the LISTEN reading coach needed good examples of reading aloud, it was decided that the majority of the speakers should be "good" readers. They were recorded in the summer of 1995 and were enrolled in either the Chatham College Summer Camp or the Mount Lebanon Extended Day Summer Fun program in Pittsburgh. They were recorded on-site. This set will hereafter be called SUM95. There are 44 speakers and 3,333 utterances in this set. The LISTEN system also needed examples of errorful reading and dialectic variants. The readers who supplied this type of speech come from a school which has a high population of children who are at risk of growing up poor readers and who could therefore benefit from any reading tutor or other system built upon this database. They come from Fort Pitt School in Pittsburgh and were recorded in April 1996. This subset will be referred to as FP. There are 32 speakers and 1,847 utterances in this set. The list of speakers, the set they are in and the number of sentences per speaker can be found in the "tables" directory, in the file named "speaker.tbl."
It should be noted that although there will be some dialectal variation in the speech of the SUM95 subset, the speech of the FP subset gives us a very good representation of dialects of the children that may be targeted for the LISTEN system. However, the user should be aware that the speakers' dialect partly reflects what is locally called "Pittsburghese."
Updates There are no updates at this time.
The text presented to the children was obtained from Weekly Reader stories. Weekly Reader is a four-page color reading supplement given out to children in many classrooms. Special reprint permission granted by Weekly Reader (R), published by Weekly Reader Corporation Copyright (c) 1994, 1995 by Weekly Reader Corporation All Rights Reserved.