Evaluating dictation task measures for the study of speech perception

Felker, E. R., Ernestus, M., & Broersma, M. (2019). Evaluating dictation task measures for the study of speech perception. In S. Calhoun, P. Escudero, M. Tabain, & P. Warren (Eds.), Proceedings of the 19th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS 2019) (pp. 383-387). Canberra, Australia: Australasian Speech Science and Technology Association Inc.
This paper shows that the dictation task, a well-
known testing instrument in language education, has
untapped potential as a research tool for studying
speech perception. We describe how transcriptions
can be scored on measures of lexical, orthographic,
phonological, and semantic similarity to target
phrases to provide comprehensive information about
accuracy at different processing levels. The former
three measures are automatically extractable,
increasing objectivity, and the middle two are
gradient, providing finer-grained information than
traditionally used. We evaluate the measures in an
English dictation task featuring phonetically reduced
continuous speech. Whereas the lexical and
orthographic measures emphasize listeners’ word
identification difficulties, the phonological measure
demonstrates that listeners can often still recover
phonological features, and the semantic measure
captures their ability to get the gist of the utterances.
Correlational analyses and a discussion of practical
and theoretical considerations show that combining
multiple measures improves the dictation task’s
utility as a research tool.
Publication type
Proceedings paper
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