Developing a Weighted Measure of Speech Sound Accuracy PurposeTo develop a system for numerically quantifying a speaker’s phonetic accuracy through transcription-based measures. With a focus on normal and disordered speech in children, the authors describe a system for differentially weighting speech sound errors on the basis of various levels of phonetic accuracy using a Weighted Speech Sound Accuracy ... Article
Article  |   February 01, 2011
Developing a Weighted Measure of Speech Sound Accuracy
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Jonathan L. Preston
    Haskins Laboratories, New Haven, CT
  • Heather L. Ramsdell
    The University of Memphis, Memphis, TN
  • D. Kimbrough Oller
    The University of Memphis
  • Mary Louise Edwards
    Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY
  • Stephen J. Tobin
    University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT
  • Contact author: Jonathan L. Preston, Haskins Laboratories, 300 George St., Suite 900, New Haven, CT 06511. E-mail: preston@haskins.yale.edu.
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech
Article   |   February 01, 2011
Developing a Weighted Measure of Speech Sound Accuracy
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2011, Vol. 54, 1-18. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2010/10-0030)
History: Received February 2, 2010 , Revised May 4, 2010 , Accepted June 21, 2010
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2011, Vol. 54, 1-18. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2010/10-0030)
History: Received February 2, 2010; Revised May 4, 2010; Accepted June 21, 2010
Web of Science® Times Cited: 9

PurposeTo develop a system for numerically quantifying a speaker’s phonetic accuracy through transcription-based measures. With a focus on normal and disordered speech in children, the authors describe a system for differentially weighting speech sound errors on the basis of various levels of phonetic accuracy using a Weighted Speech Sound Accuracy (WSSA) score. The authors then evaluate the reliability and validity of this measure.

MethodPhonetic transcriptions were analyzed from several samples of child speech, including preschoolers and young adolescents with and without speech sound disorders and typically developing toddlers. The new measure of phonetic accuracy was validated against existing measures, was used to discriminate typical and disordered speech production, and was evaluated to examine sensitivity to changes in phonetic accuracy over time. Reliability between transcribers and consistency of scores among different word sets and testing points are compared.

ResultsInitial psychometric data indicate that WSSA scores correlate with other measures of phonetic accuracy as well as listeners' judgments of the severity of a child’s speech disorder. The measure separates children with and without speech sound disorders and captures growth in phonetic accuracy in toddlers' speech over time. The measure correlates highly across transcribers, word lists, and testing points.

ConclusionResults provide preliminary support for the WSSA as a valid and reliable measure of phonetic accuracy in children’s speech.

Acknowledgments
This work was supported by National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Grant T32HD07548 awarded to Haskins Laboratories (Carol Fowler, Principal Investigator [PI]) and by an American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation Early Childhood Language Development Grant awarded to the first author (Group 1 data). Collection of Group 2 data was funded by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) Research Grant DC00523-01A2 awarded to Syracuse University. Participation of the second and third authors was supported by NIDCD Research Grant DCR01 006099 (D. Kimbrough Oller, PI). Thanks to Barbara Davis and the developers of the CHILDES database.
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