In the past decade, semi-continuous hidden Markov models (SCHMMs) have not attracted much attention in the speech recognition community. Growing amounts of training data and increasing sophistication of model estimation led to the impression that continuous HMMs are the best choice of acoustic model. However, recent work on recognition of under-resourced languages faces the same old problem of estimating a large number of parameters from limited amounts of transcribed speech. This has led to a renewed interest
in methods of reducing the number of parameters while maintaining or extending the modeling capabilities of continuous models. In this work, we compare classic and multiple-codebook semicontinuous models using diagonal and full covariance matrices with
continuous HMMs and subspace Gaussian mixture models. Experiments on the RM and WSJ corpora show that while a classical semicontinuous system does not perform as well as a continuous one, multiple-codebook semi-continuous systems can perform better, particular
when using full-covariance Gaussians.