In order to examine the contribution of prosodic variables to the intelligibility of
foreign-accented speech, this study asked listeners to provide intelligibility ratings of
Hindi-accented English sentences that were acoustically manipulated along two
parameters: duration (of segments and pauses) and F0. The manipulated sentences,
which reflected typical American English patterns of duration and pitch, were presented
to native American English listeners in the presence of background noise.
The findings were that for Hindi-accented English, manipulating F0 has a greater
effect on intelligibility than does manipulating duration. When duration and F0 were
each manipulated separately, both manipulations led to reduced intelligibility.
Manipulating F0 led to a greater detriment in speech intelligibility than manipulating
duration. Furthermore, the lowest intelligibility performance of all resulted from
sentences where both duration and F0 had been modified. Even though the prosodic
variables were manipulated to be native-like and to therefore enhance intelligibility, these manipulations resulted worse performance on the part of native listeners. Possible
reasons for these findings and directions for future research are discussed.
University of Minnesota M.A. thesis. October 2010. Major: Speech-Language pathology. Advisor: Associate Professor Benjamin Munson. 1 computer file (PDF); vi, 49 pages, appendix p. 49. Ill. (some col.)
Crocker, Laura Powell.
Intelligibility of Hindi-Accented English: the role of duration and intonation..
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