Intelligibility of Connected Discourse An approach to measuring the intelligibility of free-running connected discourse that contrasts with the quasi-statistical methods generally used with nonsense syllables, words, or sentences is described. With this approach, intelligibility is viewed as a decision by the listener that specifies how well the message was understood. The goal of testing, ... Research Article
Research Article  |   September 01, 1972
Intelligibility of Connected Discourse
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Charles Speaks
    University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Barbara Parker
    University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Christine Harris
    University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Patricia Kuhl
    University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Article Information
Research Articles
Research Article   |   September 01, 1972
Intelligibility of Connected Discourse
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, September 1972, Vol. 15, 590-602. doi:10.1044/jshr.1503.590
History: Received June 19, 1972
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, September 1972, Vol. 15, 590-602. doi:10.1044/jshr.1503.590
History: Received June 19, 1972

An approach to measuring the intelligibility of free-running connected discourse that contrasts with the quasi-statistical methods generally used with nonsense syllables, words, or sentences is described. With this approach, intelligibility is viewed as a decision by the listener that specifies how well the message was understood. The goal of testing, therefore, is to quantify the listener’s response with meaningful indices of performance. The various speech-Bekesy procedures are sensitive to a listener decision, but they fail to specify how the criterion of intelligibility was interpreted by the listener and have the additional disadvantage of specifying intelligibility as a threshold level in decibels rather than as a magnitude of intelligibility in percent. Experiments are reported in which systematic modifications were made to the speech-Bekesy procedures. The two major methods are “tracking to constant percentage criteria of intelligibility” and “estimation of intelligibility.” The results specify intelligibility of connected discourse by a performance-intensity function. The data are stable across alternative testing methods and compare favorably with sentence-repetition scores.

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