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J Acoust Soc Am. 2002 Jul;112(1):272-84.

The clear speech effect for non-native listeners.

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Department of Linguistics, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 60208, USA.


Previous work has established that naturally produced clear speech is more intelligible than conversational speech for adult hearing-impaired listeners and normal-hearing listeners under degraded listening conditions. The major goal of the present study was to investigate the extent to which naturally produced clear speech is an effective intelligibility enhancement strategy for non-native listeners. Thirty-two non-native and 32 native listeners were presented with naturally produced English sentences. Factors that varied were speaking style (conversational versus clear), signal-to-noise ratio (-4 versus -8 dB) and talker (one male versus one female). Results showed that while native listeners derived a substantial benefit from naturally produced clear speech (an improvement of about 16 rau units on a keyword-correct count), non-native listeners exhibited only a small clear speech effect (an improvement of only 5 rau units). This relatively small clear speech effect for non-native listeners is interpreted as a consequence of the fact that clear speech is essentially native-listener oriented, and therefore is only beneficial to listeners with extensive experience with the sound structure of the target language.

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