The interlanguage speech intelligibility benefit

Tessa Bent*, Ann R. Bradlow

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

300 Scopus citations


This study investigated how native language background influences the intelligibility of speech by non-native talkers for non-native listeners from either the same or a different native language background as the talker. Native talkers of Chinese (n = 2), Korean (n = 2), and English (n = 1) were recorded reading simple English sentences. Native listeners of English (n = 21), Chinese (n = 21), Korean (n = 10), and a mixed group from various native language backgrounds (n = 12) then performed a sentence recognition task with the recordings from the five talkers. Results showed that for native English listeners, the native English talker was most intelligible. However, for non-native listeners, speech from a relatively high proficiency non-native talker from the same native language background was as intelligible as speech from a native talker, giving rise to the "matched interlanguage speech intelligibility benefit." Furthermore, this interlanguage intelligibility benefit extended to the situation where the non-native talker and listeners came from different language backgrounds, giving rise to the "mismatched interlanguage speech intelligibility benefit." These findings shed light on the nature of the talker-listener interaction during speech communication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1600-1610
Number of pages11
Journaljournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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