C. Wardrip-Fruin A. Constantinou
Dept. of Commun. Disord. and Program in Linguistics, California State Univ., Long Beach, CA 90840
Wave duration and wave peak amplitude were measured for 10 Mandarin speakers of English and five native English speakers. Results revealed significant differences between the two groups on these acoustic variables. Discriminant function analysis resulted in 12 (80%) of 15 subjects being classified correctly in their respective language groups based on the wave duration and wave peak amplitude measures. A second experiment, with the 10 Mandarin subjects as speakers and 231 native English speakers as listeners, ranked the intelligibility of each speaker. A regression analysis revealed high correlation (r=0.897) between acoustic and perceptual measures; measurements of amplitude wave duration account for 89.1% of the variation in intelligibility and measurements of peaks in wave amplitude account for 68.5% of the variation in the speech samples. These findings suggest that intelligibility of Mandarin speakers of English is a function of acoustic parameters of prosody.