Generation of a phonetic transcription for modern standard Arabic: A knowledge-based model

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Authors:
  • Allan Ramsay
  • Iman Alsharhan
  • Hanady Ahmed


This paper outlines a comprehensive system for automatically generating a phonetic transcription of a given Arabic text which closely matches the pronunciation of the speakers. The presented system is based on a set of (language-dependent) pronunciation rules that works on converting fully diacriticised Arabic text into the actual sounds, along with a lexicon for exceptional words. This is a two-phase process: one-to-one grapheme to phoneme conversion and then phoneme-to-allophone conversion using a set of "phonological rules". Phonological rules operate on the phonemes and convert them to the actual sounds considering the neighbouring phones or the containing syllable or word. This system is developed for the purpose of delivering a robust Automatic Arabic Speech Recognition (AASR) system which is able to handle speech variation resulting from the mismatch between the text and the pronunciation. We anticipate that it could also be used for producing natural sounding speech from an Arabic text-to-speech (ATTS) system as well, but we have not extensively tested it in this application. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)959-978
Number of pages19
JournalComputer Speech and Language
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014