Discourse Comprehension of Synthetic Speech Across Three Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Output Methods The purpose of this investigation was to determine the relative effects of three different Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) speech output methods (word, sentence, mixed words and letters) on a listener's ability to summarize paragraph-length texts. Based on previous work on the discourse processing of synthetic speech, a monotonic trend ... Research Article
Research Article  |   August 01, 1995
Discourse Comprehension of Synthetic Speech Across Three Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Output Methods
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • D. Jeffery Higginbotham
    Department of Communicative Disorders and Sciences, State University of New York at Buffalo
  • Christine A. Scally
    Clark County School District, Las Vegas, NV
  • Debra C. Lundy
    University of Illinois at Chicago, Assistive Technology Unit, Chicago, IL
  • Kim Kowarsky
    Bloorview Children's Hospital, Willowdale, Ontario, Canada
  • Contact author: D. Jeffery Higginbotham, PhD, Department of Communicative Disorders and Sciences, 109 Park Hall, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY 14260. E-mail: cdsjeff@ubvms.cc.buffalo.edu
Article Information
Augmentative & Alternative Communication / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   August 01, 1995
Discourse Comprehension of Synthetic Speech Across Three Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Output Methods
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 1995, Vol. 38, 889-901. doi:10.1044/jshr.3804.889
History: Received July 25, 1994 , Accepted February 14, 1995
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 1995, Vol. 38, 889-901. doi:10.1044/jshr.3804.889
History: Received July 25, 1994; Accepted February 14, 1995

The purpose of this investigation was to determine the relative effects of three different Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) speech output methods (word, sentence, mixed words and letters) on a listener's ability to summarize paragraph-length texts. Based on previous work on the discourse processing of synthetic speech, a monotonic trend in a listener's ability to accurately summarize texts produced by different output methods was hypothesized (word > sentence > mixed). Thirty able-bodied adults were individually tested over a 2-day period, listening to four texts produced by a DECtalk speech synthesizer at a speech presentation rate of 7.5 wpm. Using a discourse summarization taxonomy developed by Higginbotham, Lundy, and Scally (1993), the experimental hypothesis was confirmed. Word-method listeners produced significantly more accurate renditions of the original texts than sentence-method listeners, who, in turn, did better than mixed-method listeners. Statistically significant differences also were found for the topic familiarity of the texts. The role of the above variables on AAC device comprehension and technology design is discussed.

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