Language-independent talker-specificity in bilingual speech intelligibility: Individual traits persist across first-language and second-language speech

Ann R. Bradlow*, Michael Blasingame, Kyounghee Lee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

The present study provides evidence of a positive correlation between L1 and L2 intelligibility for bilingual talkers. Each talker in a group of Mandarin-English and Korean-English bilinguals was recorded producing simple sentences in each of their languages. The recordings were then presented to native listeners of the language-being-spoken in a test of sentence-in-noise recognition to yield a pair of L1 and L2 intelligibility scores for each talker based on the proportion of words correctly recognized. For all talkers, their L2 speech (i.e., Mandarin- or Korean-accented English) was consistently lower in intelligibility than their L1 speech (i.e., native accented Mandarin or Korean). This dissociation between L1-L2 speech intelligibility was evident in different intelligibility scores at comparable signal-to-noise ratios (as much as 35 percentage points for the Mandarin-English bilinguals) and in the required boost in signal-to-noise ratio to achieve comparable intelligibility (>8-10 dB). Critically, L1 and L2 intelligibility scores within the bilingual talkers were strongly positively correlated: Talkers with relatively high intelligibility in L1 also achieved relatively high intelligibility in L2. These results indicate a persistent influence of talker-specific trait characteristics that combine with, rather than are overwhelmed by, language-specific and dominance-dependent influences in bilingual speech production.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberlabphon.137
JournalLaboratory Phonology
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2020

Keywords

  • Bilingualism
  • Speech intelligibility
  • Speech production

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Podiatry
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Computer Science Applications

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