In this paper we present a statistical method for generating phonetic transcriptions from written words. It uses Bayes' decision rule to find the most likely phonetic transcription. The method is illustrated by applying it to English, French and German. For these three languages it produces transcriptions that differ from the correct ones in at most two phonemes for more than 97% of all words. An advantage of the statistical approach lies in the fact that phonotactical knowledge is automatically learned from background lexica and does not have to be explicitly coded. Thus, the system is basically language independent. © 1995.
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