ASA 130th Meeting - St. Louis, MO - 1995 Nov 27 .. Dec 01

2aSC18. Intelligibility assessment of Chinese-accented English.

Catherine L. Rogers

Commun. Disord. Technol., Inc., 205 S. Walnut St., Bloomington, IN 47404

Depts. of Linguistics and Cognitive Sci., Indiana Univ., Bloomington, IN

Jonathan M. Dalby

Commun. Disord. Technol., Inc., Bloomington, IN 47404

Although it is generally accepted that a strong foreign accent renders a speaker less intelligible to native listeners, few studies have attempted to investigate specific sources of this deficit. The present study explores the diagnostic effectiveness of a minimal-pairs test of intelligibility. An inventory of phonemic errors was compiled from careful transcriptions of the spoken English of two native speakers of Mandarin Chinese. Minimal pairs were constructed for each error, using the intended phoneme and the closest English phoneme transcribed. Eight additional native speakers of Mandarin Chinese were recorded reading the target words in the minimal-pairs list and a set of 20 sentences. The minimal-pair target words were presented to groups of native listeners in a forced-choice task; in a second task, listeners were presented with the sentences and asked to write down what they understood. Preliminary results from listener groups for three of the speakers demonstrate (1) no significant differences across listener groups for a control speaker, indicating test reliability, (2) significant differences across listener groups for the three speakers, indicating test sensitivity, and (3) percent-correct scores on the minimal-pairs test are predictive of percent of words correctly identified in the sentence-listening task. [Work supported by NIH-NIDCD Grant #2R44DC02213.]