ASA 129th Meeting - Washington, DC - 1995 May 30 .. Jun 06

1aSC4. Speech during simultaneous communication: Temporal characteristics and perceived naturalness.

Robert L. Whitehead

Comm. Res. Natl. Tech. Inst. for the Deaf, 52 Lomb Memorial Dr., Rochester, NY 14623-5604

Nicholas Schiavetti

State Univ. of New York, Geneseo, NY 14454

Brenda H. Whitehead

Natl. Tech. Inst. for the Deaf, Rochester, NY 14623

Dale Even Metz

State Univ. of New York, Geneseo, NY 14454

Simultaneous communication is a process which combines spoken English with various manual representations of English words in the form of signs and fingerspelling. The present study investigated the durational characteristics and perceived naturalness of speech produced during simultaneous communication with increasing fingerspelling complexity. Ten normal-hearing adult females, skilled in the use of simultaneous communication, served as speakers. Experimental words of differing fingerspelling complexity were embedded in sentences which were: (a) spoken and (b) spoken and signed, except for the experimental words which were fingerspelled. Five temporal measures of speech were calculated: (a) sentence duration, (b) experimental word duration, (c) diphthong duration preceding the experimental word, (d) pause duration preceding the experimental word; and (c) pause duration following the experimental word. Speech naturalness was rated using a nine-point naturalness rating scale for all stimulus samples. Results indicated significant differences in durational measures and naturalness ratings between the speech-only and simultaneous communication conditions, and between levels of fingerspelling complexity. A multiple regression analysis was performed to predict speech naturalness from the durational measures used as independent variables. The multiple R[sup 2] was 0.698. [Work supported by U.S. Department of Education.]