Intelligibility of Spanish-Accented English Words in Noise

Document Type


Presentation Date


Conference Name

Second Special ASA Workshop of Cross-Language Speech Perception

Conference Location

Portland, OR


The intelligibility of Mandarin-accented English sentences, even those spoken by highly proficient non-native speakers, is degraded more than is native speech when presented to native listeners in noise (Rogers, Dalby, and Nishi, 2004). Comprehension of accented speech may require more processing time than native speech even when presented in quiet (Munro and Derwing, 1995). These effects are similar to effects found by Pisoni and his colleagues for synthetic, as compared to natural speech (Winters and Pisoni, 2003) and together suggest that the ability of native listeners to adapt relatively quickly and effectively to accented speech (Bradlow and Bent, 2008; Clark and Garrett, 2004) may come at the expense of increased cognitive effort. The present study examines the effects of noise on the intelligibility of Mandarin-accented isolated words from speakers representing a wide range of oral English proficiency based on connected-speech measures. A subset of these words, those with the highest open-set identification scores as rated by a jury of ten native listeners, will be presented for identification to a second jury at four signal-to-noise ratios; quiet, +10, 0 and -5 dB. Results are compared to those found for connected speech from the same group of talkers. Work supported by NIH-NIDCD.


Foreign accent, speech perception, speech in noise, speech intelligibility


Communication Sciences and Disorders | Speech and Hearing Science | Speech Pathology and Audiology

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