Sibilant consonants classification comparison with multi- and single-class neural networks

Ivo Anjos, Nuno Cavalheiro Marques, Margarida Grilo, Isabel Guimarães, João Magalhães, Sofia Cavaco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Many children with speech sound disorders cannot pronounce the sibilant consonants correctly. We have developed a serious game, which is controlled by the children's voices in real time, with the purpose of helping children on practicing the production of European Portuguese (EP) sibilant consonants. For this, the game uses a sibilant consonant classifier. Since the game does not require any type of adult supervision, children can practice producing these sounds more often, which may lead to faster improvements of their speech. Recently, the use of deep neural networks has given considerable improvements in the classification of a variety of use cases, from image classification to speech and language processing. Here, we propose to use deep convolutional neural networks to classify sibilant phonemes of EP in our serious game for speech and language therapy. We compared the performance of several different artificial neural networks that used Mel frequency cepstral coefficients or log Mel filterbanks. Our best deep learning model achieves classification scores of 95.48% using a 2D convolutional model with log Mel filterbanks as input features. Such results are then further improved for specific classes with simple binary classifiers.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12620
JournalExpert Systems
Issue number6(SI)
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • deep learning
  • machine learning
  • neural networks
  • sibilant consonants
  • speech and language therapy


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