Synthesized speech intelligibility in sentences: A comparison of monolingual English-speaking and bilingual children

Ellen Axmear, Joe Reichte, Maya Alamsaputra, Kathryn Kohnert, Kathryn Drager, Kelli Sellnow

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Purpose: Research comparing the intelligibility of human and synthesized speech among both young children and adults has indicated that synthesized speech results in a degrading of intelligibility. The purpose of this study was to compare speech intelligibility of high-probability sentences produced using DECtalk® Perfect Paul and live speech among monolingual English-speaking and bilingual children. Method: Twenty typically developing children between the ages of 4;5 (years;months) and 6;2 participated. Ten children (6 boys and 4 girls) were monolingual English speakers. The remaining ten children (4 boys and 6 girls) were bilingual. Their reproduction of modeled sentences produced in English via live speech and synthesized speech were analyzed to determine the intelligibility of each speech type. Results: The results indicated that for both groups of children, performance was significantly better in the live speech condition. Results further revealed that the intelligibility decrement for synthesized speech was substantially greater for bilingual speakers. Clinical Implications: For bilingual children, even higher quality synthesized speech may present a greater challenge than it does for monolingual English-speaking children. Possible strategies to enhance intelligibility are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)244-250
Number of pages7
JournalLanguage, speech, and hearing services in schools
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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