Intelligibility of time-compressed speech: Three ways of time-compression

Janse, E. (2000). Intelligibility of time-compressed speech: Three ways of time-compression. In Proceedings of the VIth International Conference on Spoken Language Processing, vol. III (pp. 786-789).
Studies on fast speech have shown that word-level timing of fast speech differs from that of normal rate speech in that unstressed syllables are shortened more than stressed syllables as speech rate increases. An earlier experiment showed that the intelligibility of time-compressed speech could not be improved by making its temporal organisation closer to natural fast speech. To test the hypothesis that segmental intelligibility is more important than prosodic timing in listening to timecompressed speech, the intelligibility of bisyllabic words was tested in three time-compression conditions: either stressed and unstressed syllable were compressed to the same degree, or the stressed syllable was compressed more than the unstressed syllable, or the reverse. As was found before, imitating wordlevel timing of fast speech did not improve intelligibility over linear compression. However, the results did not confirm the hypothesis either: there was no difference in intelligibility between the three compression conditions. We conclude that segmental intelligibility plays an important role, but further research is necessary to decide between the contributions of prosody and segmental intelligibility to the word-level intelligibility of time-compressed speech.
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