8th European Conference on Speech Communication and Technology

Geneva, Switzerland
September 1-4, 2003


The Effect of Speech Rate and Noise on Bilinguals' Speech Perception: The Case of Native Speakers of Arabic in Israel

Judith Rosenhouse (1), Liat Kishon-Rabin (2)

(1) Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, Israel
(2) Tel-Aviv University, Israel

Listening conditions affect bilinguals' speech perception, but relatively little is known about the effect of the combination of several degrading listening conditions. We studied the combined effect of speech rate and background noise on bilinguals' speech perception in their L1 and L2. Speech perception of twenty Israeli university students, native speakers of Arabic (L1), with Hebrew as L2, was tested. The tests consisted of CHABA sentences adapted to Hebrew and Arabic. In each language, speech perception was evaluated under four conditions: quiet + regular speaking rate, quiet + fast speaking rate, noise + regular speaking rate, and noise + fast speaking rate. Results show that under optimal conditions bilingual speakers of Arabic and Hebrew have similar achievements in Arabic (L1) and Hebrew (L2). Under difficult conditions, performance was poorer in L2 than in L1. The lowest scores were in the combined condition. This reflects bilinguals' disadvantages when listening to L2.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Rosenhouse, Judith / Kishon-Rabin, Liat (2003): "The effect of speech rate and noise on bilinguals' speech perception: the case of native speakers of arabic in israel", In EUROSPEECH-2003, 2089-2092.