Effects of Discourse Context on the Intelligibility of Synthesized Speech for Young Adult and Older Adult Listeners Applications for AAC Research Note
Research Note  |   October 01, 2001
Effects of Discourse Context on the Intelligibility of Synthesized Speech for Young Adult and Older Adult Listeners
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Kathryn D. R. Drager
    Department of Communication Disorders Pennsylvania State University University Park
  • Joe E. Reichle
    Department of Communication Disorders University of Minnesota Minneapolis
  • Contact author: Kathryn D. R. Drager, PhD, Pennsylvania State University, Department of Communication Disorders, 110 Moore, University Park, PA 16802.
    Contact author: Kathryn D. R. Drager, PhD, Pennsylvania State University, Department of Communication Disorders, 110 Moore, University Park, PA 16802.×
  • Corresponding author: e-mail: kdd5@psu.edu
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Augmentative & Alternative Communication / Special Populations / Older Adults & Aging / Speech / Research Notes
Research Note   |   October 01, 2001
Effects of Discourse Context on the Intelligibility of Synthesized Speech for Young Adult and Older Adult Listeners
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2001, Vol. 44, 1052-1057. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2001/083)
History: Received January 4, 2001 , Accepted April 5, 2001
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2001, Vol. 44, 1052-1057. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2001/083)
History: Received January 4, 2001; Accepted April 5, 2001
Web of Science® Times Cited: 15

The use of speech synthesis in electronic communication aids allows individuals who use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices to communicate with a variety of partners. However, communication will only be effective if the speech signal is readily understood by the listener. The intelligibility of synthesized speech is influenced by a variety of factors, including the provision of context. Although the facilitative effects of context have been demonstrated extensively in studies with young adults, there are few investigations into older adults' ability to decode the synthesized speech signal. The present study investigated whether discourse context affected the intelligibility of synthesized sentences for young adult and older adult listeners. Listeners were asked to repeat 15-word sentences that were either presented in isolation or preceded by a story that set the context for the sentence. Participants correctly repeated significantly more words in the sentences when they were preceded by related sentences than when the sentences were presented in isolation. This research shows a facilitating effect of context in discourse, wherein previous words and sentences are related to later sentences, for both younger and older adult listeners. These results have direct implications for AAC system message transmission.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by in part by an award from the Bryng Bryngelson Communication Disorders Research Fund at the University of Minnesota and by a Doctoral Dissertation Special Grant, Graduate School, University of Minnesota. The data were collected while the first author was a doctoral candidate in the Department of Communication Disorders at the University of Minnesota. Data analysis and manuscript preparation were supported by the Department of Communication Disorders at Penn State University. Portions of this paper were presented at the 1998 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Convention, San Antonio, TX.
The authors would like to gratefully acknowledge the contributions and invaluable feedback of Robert Brookshire, PhD.
Order a Subscription
Pay Per View
Entire Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research content & archive
24-hour access
This Article
24-hour access