ISCA Archive MIST 1999
ISCA Archive MIST 1999

Speech intelligibility of native and non-native speech

Sander J. van Wijngaarden

The intelligibility of speech is known to be lower if the talker is non-native instead of native for the given language. This study is aimed at quantifying the overall degradation due to acoustic-phonetic limitations of nonnative talkers of Dutch, specifically of Dutch-speaking Americans who have lived in the Netherlands 1-3 years. Experiments were performed using phoneme intelligibility and sentence intelligibility tests, using additive noise as a means of degrading the intelligibility of speech utterances for test purposes. The overall difference in sentence intelligibility between native Dutch talkers and American talkers of Dutch, using native Dutch listeners, was found to correspond to a difference in speech-to-noise ratio of approximately 3 dB. The main contribution to the degradation of speech intelligibility by introducing non-native talkers and/or listeners, is by confusion of vowels, especially those that do not occur in American English.

Cite as: Wijngaarden, S.J.v. (1999) Speech intelligibility of native and non-native speech. Proc. Multi-Lingual Interoperability in Speech Technology, 37-42

  author={Sander J. van Wijngaarden},
  title={{Speech intelligibility of native and non-native speech}},
  booktitle={Proc. Multi-Lingual Interoperability in Speech Technology},