15th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-15)

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003

Acoustic-Phonetic Dimensions of Speaker Intelligibility

Valerie Hazan, Duncan Markham

University College London, UK

Word intelligibility rates were obtained for a set of 45 speakers from a homogeneous accent group. 135 listeners were tested: 45 adults, 45 11-12 year olds and 45 7-8 year olds. Intelligibility in low-level noise varied significantly across speakers with mean word error rates ranging from 3.6% to 18.8%. Error rates were higher for the younger child listeners but the relative intelligibility of speakers across listener groups was highly consistent. Next, acoustic-phonetic measurements were made on the speaker database. Total energy in the 1-3 kHz region and mean word duration together predicted over 60% of the variability in the intelligibility data. However, correlations between intelligibility and acoustic-phonetic measures varied across speaker groups, with no correlations obtained for child speakers, and the profiles of the 'best' and 'worst' speakers highlighted the considerable diversity of factors contributing to intelligibility. These results confirm the difficulty in finding reliable acoustic-phonetic correlates of speaker intelligibility.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Hazan, Valerie / Markham, Duncan (2003): "Acoustic-phonetic dimensions of speaker intelligibility", In ICPhS-15, 1493-1496.