Effect of speech clarity on perception of interrupted meaningful and anomalous sentences

Rajka Smiljanic*, Stanley Sheft, Bharath Chandrasekaran, Valeriy Shafiro

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


The influence of speech clarity on the perception of interrupted speech was examined for sentences distinguished by the presence of semantic-contextual cues. Semantically meaningful and anomalous sentences produced in either conversational or "clear" speech were periodically interrupted at gating rates ranging from slow (0.5 Hz) to fast (24 Hz) and presented to 26 native English listeners. At slow rates, speech perception may be based on integration of whole syllables and words, with "glimpsing" of (sub)phonemic segments playing a role at faster rates. Our results show that semantic context and speech clarity had a significant rate-dependent impact on the intelligibility of interrupted speech. At the lowest rates, intelligibility differences between conditions were minimal. Overall, interruption was most deleterious for anomalous conversational sentences. Such effects were seen even at the highest gating rate of 24 Hz for which interruption effects are generally minimal. The magnitude of the clear-speech benefit varied with gating rate for the two types of sentences, starting at 1 Hz for meaningful and 2 Hz for anomalous sentences. Acoustic-phonetic enhancements of clear speech thus "shifted" contextual benefit to lower gating rates. The implications of these results for our understanding of different time scales of speech processing will be discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number060109
JournalProceedings of Meetings on Acoustics
StatePublished - 2013
Event21st International Congress on Acoustics, ICA 2013 - 165th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America - Montreal, QC, Canada
Duration: Jun 2 2013Jun 7 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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