The Intelligibility cocktail: an interaction between speaker and listener ingredients

Beth Zielinski

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The findings of previous studies investigating the relationship between speech production and intelligibility in speakers of English as a Second Language (ESL) are far from conclusive. The aim of the research reported in this article was to gain further insight into this relationship and thus shed light on the best ways to improve intelligibility in speakers who have this as their goal. Because intelligibility involves both the speaker and the listener, this article presents findings of a case study that explored the role of each in reducing intelligibility in a Vietnamese speaker for three native (Australian) listeners. In this article I propose that reduced intelligibility (RI) was the result of the interaction between listeners' processing strategies and a complex mix of non-standard features in the speech signal. The listeners appeared to rely on the syllable stress patterns and segments in the speech signal to identify the speaker’s intended words, but for this particular Vietnamese speaker, non-standard segments seemed to play a greater role in reducing intelligibility than did non-standard syllable stress patterns.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-45
Number of pages24
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher version archived with the permission of the Editor, Prospect, Macquarie University, NSW, Australia. This copy is available for individual, non-commercial use. Permission to reprint/republish this version for other uses must be obtained from the publisher.


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