16th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

Dresden, Germany
September 6-10, 2015

Pronunciation Accuracy and Intelligibility of Non-Native Speech

Anastassia Loukina, Melissa Lopez, Keelan Evanini, David Suendermann-Oeft, Alexei V. Ivanov, Klaus Zechner

Educational Testing Service, USA

This paper investigates the connection between intelligibility and pronunciation accuracy. We compare which words in non-native English speech are likely to be misrecognized and which words are likely to be marked as pronunciation errors. We found that only 16% of the variability in word-level intelligibility can be explained by the presence of obvious mispronunciations. In some cases, a word remained recognizable or could be identified from the context despite obvious pronunciation errors. In many other cases, the annotators were unable to identify the word when listening to the audio but did not perceive it as mispronounced when presented with its transcription. At the same time, we see high agreement when the results are aggregated across all words from the same speaker.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Loukina, Anastassia / Lopez, Melissa / Evanini, Keelan / Suendermann-Oeft, David / Ivanov, Alexei V. / Zechner, Klaus (2015): "Pronunciation accuracy and intelligibility of non-native speech", In INTERSPEECH-2015, 1917-1921.