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

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003

The Intelligibility of a Spelling-Regular English Accent

Mark Huckvale, Margaret Shaw

University College London, UK

Regular English Pronunciation (REP) is an artificial accent of English designed to be more logically related to English spelling than modern naturally-occurring English accents. The REP pronunciation of words can be generated automatically with a set of just 200 rules and exceptions.
   These rules and exceptions have been measured to provide over 75% of standard pronunciations in running spoken English. This paper shows that the while the intelligibility of REP is a little worse than standard pronunciation on a challenging intelligibility task, it is significantly easier to comprehend than a matched control condition in which pronunciation changes are unrelated to spelling. The paper also shows that listeners improve in their ability to recognise REP over a short period of exposure. The results suggest that advocacy of regularised pronunciation has a role to play in the reform of English spelling.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Huckvale, Mark / Shaw, Margaret (2003): "The intelligibility of a spelling-regular English accent", In ICPhS-15, 2509-2512.