This investigation evaluated a possible source of reduced intelligibility in hypokinetic dysarthric speech, namely the mismatch between listeners' perceptual strategies and the acoustic information available in the dysarthric speech signal. A paradigm of error analysis was adopted in which listener transcriptions of phrases were coded for the presence and type of word boundary errors. Seventy listeners heard 60 phrases produced by speakers with hypokinetic dysarthria. The six-syllable phrases alternated strong and weak syllables and ranged in length from three to five words. Lexical boundary violations were defined as erroneous insertions or deletions of lexical boundaries that occurred either before strong or before weak syllables. A total of 1596 lexical boundary errors in the listeners' transcriptions was identified unanimously by three independent judges. The pattern of errors generally conformed with the predictions of the Metrical Segmentation Strategy hypothesis [Cutler and Norris, J. Exp. Psychol. 14, 113-121 (1988)] which posits that listeners attend to strong syllables to identify word onsets. However, the strength of adherence to this pattern varied across speakers. Comparison of acoustic evidence of syllabic strength to lexical boundary error patterns revealed a source of intelligibility deficit associated with this particular type of dysarthric speech pattern.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Acoustics and Ultrasonics