Effects of noise and proficiency on intelligibility of Chinese-accented English

Catherine L. Rogers, Jonathan Dalby, Kanae Nishi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

39 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study compared the intelligibility of native and foreign-accented English speech presented in quiet and mixed with three different levels of background noise. Two native American English speakers and four native Mandarin Chinese speakers for whom English is a second language each read a list of 50 phonetically balanced sentences (Egan, 1948). The authors identified two of the Mandarin-accented English speakers as high-proficiency speakers and two as lower proficiency speakers, based on their intelligibility in quiet (about 95% and 80%, respectively). Original recordings and noise-masked versions of 48 utterances were presented to monolingual American English speakers. Listeners were asked to write down the words they heard the speakers say, and intelligibility was measured as content words correctly identified. While there was a modest difference between native and high-proficiency speech in quiet (about 7%), it was found that adding noise to the signal reduced the intelligibility of high-proficiency accented speech significantly more than it reduced the intelligibility of native speech. Differences between the two groups in the three added noise conditions ranged from about 12% to 33%. This result suggests that even high-proficiency non-native speech is less robust than native speech when it is presented to listeners under suboptimal conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139-154
Number of pages16
JournalLanguage and Speech
Volume47
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2004

Fingerprint

Noise
listener
Speech Intelligibility
North American Indians
Language
Intelligibility
Proficiency
recording
language
English Speakers
Group
Listeners
American English

Keywords

  • Bilingualism
  • Foreign accent
  • Speech intelligibility
  • Speech perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing

Cite this

Effects of noise and proficiency on intelligibility of Chinese-accented English. / Rogers, Catherine L.; Dalby, Jonathan; Nishi, Kanae.

In: Language and Speech, Vol. 47, No. 2, 01.01.2004, p. 139-154.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Rogers, Catherine L. ; Dalby, Jonathan ; Nishi, Kanae. / Effects of noise and proficiency on intelligibility of Chinese-accented English. In: Language and Speech. 2004 ; Vol. 47, No. 2. pp. 139-154.
@article{a211f2a589604dfdbe06c05676f1ae9b,
title = "Effects of noise and proficiency on intelligibility of Chinese-accented English",
abstract = "This study compared the intelligibility of native and foreign-accented English speech presented in quiet and mixed with three different levels of background noise. Two native American English speakers and four native Mandarin Chinese speakers for whom English is a second language each read a list of 50 phonetically balanced sentences (Egan, 1948). The authors identified two of the Mandarin-accented English speakers as high-proficiency speakers and two as lower proficiency speakers, based on their intelligibility in quiet (about 95{\%} and 80{\%}, respectively). Original recordings and noise-masked versions of 48 utterances were presented to monolingual American English speakers. Listeners were asked to write down the words they heard the speakers say, and intelligibility was measured as content words correctly identified. While there was a modest difference between native and high-proficiency speech in quiet (about 7{\%}), it was found that adding noise to the signal reduced the intelligibility of high-proficiency accented speech significantly more than it reduced the intelligibility of native speech. Differences between the two groups in the three added noise conditions ranged from about 12{\%} to 33{\%}. This result suggests that even high-proficiency non-native speech is less robust than native speech when it is presented to listeners under suboptimal conditions.",
keywords = "Bilingualism, Foreign accent, Speech intelligibility, Speech perception",
author = "Rogers, {Catherine L.} and Jonathan Dalby and Kanae Nishi",
year = "2004",
month = "1",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1177/00238309040470020201",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "47",
pages = "139--154",
journal = "Language and Speech",
issn = "0023-8309",
publisher = "SAGE Publications Inc.",
number = "2",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Effects of noise and proficiency on intelligibility of Chinese-accented English

AU - Rogers, Catherine L.

AU - Dalby, Jonathan

AU - Nishi, Kanae

PY - 2004/1/1

Y1 - 2004/1/1

N2 - This study compared the intelligibility of native and foreign-accented English speech presented in quiet and mixed with three different levels of background noise. Two native American English speakers and four native Mandarin Chinese speakers for whom English is a second language each read a list of 50 phonetically balanced sentences (Egan, 1948). The authors identified two of the Mandarin-accented English speakers as high-proficiency speakers and two as lower proficiency speakers, based on their intelligibility in quiet (about 95% and 80%, respectively). Original recordings and noise-masked versions of 48 utterances were presented to monolingual American English speakers. Listeners were asked to write down the words they heard the speakers say, and intelligibility was measured as content words correctly identified. While there was a modest difference between native and high-proficiency speech in quiet (about 7%), it was found that adding noise to the signal reduced the intelligibility of high-proficiency accented speech significantly more than it reduced the intelligibility of native speech. Differences between the two groups in the three added noise conditions ranged from about 12% to 33%. This result suggests that even high-proficiency non-native speech is less robust than native speech when it is presented to listeners under suboptimal conditions.

AB - This study compared the intelligibility of native and foreign-accented English speech presented in quiet and mixed with three different levels of background noise. Two native American English speakers and four native Mandarin Chinese speakers for whom English is a second language each read a list of 50 phonetically balanced sentences (Egan, 1948). The authors identified two of the Mandarin-accented English speakers as high-proficiency speakers and two as lower proficiency speakers, based on their intelligibility in quiet (about 95% and 80%, respectively). Original recordings and noise-masked versions of 48 utterances were presented to monolingual American English speakers. Listeners were asked to write down the words they heard the speakers say, and intelligibility was measured as content words correctly identified. While there was a modest difference between native and high-proficiency speech in quiet (about 7%), it was found that adding noise to the signal reduced the intelligibility of high-proficiency accented speech significantly more than it reduced the intelligibility of native speech. Differences between the two groups in the three added noise conditions ranged from about 12% to 33%. This result suggests that even high-proficiency non-native speech is less robust than native speech when it is presented to listeners under suboptimal conditions.

KW - Bilingualism

KW - Foreign accent

KW - Speech intelligibility

KW - Speech perception

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=10044281560&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=10044281560&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1177/00238309040470020201

DO - 10.1177/00238309040470020201

M3 - Article

C2 - 15581189

AN - SCOPUS:10044281560

VL - 47

SP - 139

EP - 154

JO - Language and Speech

JF - Language and Speech

SN - 0023-8309

IS - 2

ER -