[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There are more speech errors in word onsets than in other positions.•This is assumed to be caused by phonotactic constraints on speech errors.•This hypothesis is tested in a corpus of Dutch speech errors and confirmed.•There is no need to accommodate the effect in models of speech production.•Errors in word onsets and in vowels are more often repaired than other errors.
Journal of Memory and Language 01/2015; 78. · 2.80 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Where native speakers supposedly are fluent by default, nonnative speakers often have to strive hard to achieve a nativelike fluency level. However, disfluencies (such as pauses, fillers, repairs, etc.) occur in both native and nonnative speech and it is as yet unclear how fluency raters weigh the fluency characteristics of native and nonnative speech. Two rating experiments compared the way raters assess the fluency of native and nonnative speech. The fluency characteristics were controlled by using phonetic manipulations in pause (Experiment 1) and speed characteristics (Experiment 2). The results show that the ratings of manipulated native and nonnative speech were affected in a similar fashion. This suggests that there is no difference in the way listeners weigh the fluency characteristics of native and nonnative speakers.
Language Learning 09/2014; 64(3). · 1.22 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Speech comprehension involves extensive use of prediction. Linguistic prediction may be guided by the semantics or syntax, but also by the performance characteristics of the speech signal, such as disfluency. Previous studies have shown that listeners, when presented with the filler uh, exhibit a disfluency bias for discourse-new or unknown referents, drawing inferences about the source of the disfluency. The goal of the present study is to study the contrast between native and non-native disfluencies in speech comprehension. Experiment 1 presented listeners with pictures of high-frequency (e.g., a hand) and low-frequency objects (e.g., a sewing machine) and with fluent and disfluent instructions. Listeners were found to anticipate reference to low-frequency objects when encountering disfluency, thus attributing disfluency to speaker trouble in lexical retrieval. Experiment 2 showed that, when participants listened to disfluent non-native speech, no anticipation of low-frequency referents was observed. We conclude that listeners can adapt their predictive strategies to the (non-native) speaker at hand, extending our understanding of the role of speaker identity in speech comprehension.
Journal of Memory and Language 08/2014; 75:104–116. · 2.80 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Does an audible frown or smile affect speech comprehension? Previous research suggests that a spoken word is recognized faster if its audible affect (frown or smile) matches its semantic valence. In the present study, listeners' task was to evaluate the valence of spoken affective sentences. Formants were raised or lowered using LPC to convey an audible smile or frown gesture co-produced with the stimulus speech. A crucial factor was the talker's perspective in the event being described verbally, in either first or third person. With first-person sentences, listeners may relate the talker's affective state (simulated by formant shift) to the valence of the utterance. For example, in "I have received a prize," a smiling articulation is congruent with the talker having experienced a happy event. However, with third-person sentences ("he has received a prize"), listeners cannot relate the talker's affective state to the described event. (In this example, the talker's affect can be empathic and positive, or envious and negative.) Listeners' response times confirm this hypothesized interaction: congruent utterances are processed faster than incongruent ones, but only for first-person sentences. When listeners evaluate spoken sentences, they combine audible affect, verbal content, as well as perspective, in a sophisticated manner.
The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 04/2014; 135(4):2421. · 1.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This paper investigates self-monitoring for speech errors by means of consonant identification in speech fragments excised from speech errors and their correct controls, as obtained in earlier experiments eliciting spoonerisms. Upon elicitation, segmental speech errors had been either not detected, or early detected or late detected and repaired by the speakers. Results show that misidentifications are rare but more frequent for speech errors than for control fragments. Early detected errors have fewer misidentifications than late detected errors. Reaction times for correct identifications betray effects of varying perceptual ambiguity. Early detected errors result in reaction times that are even faster than those of correct controls, while late detected errors have the longest reaction times. We speculate that in early detected errors speech is initiated before conflict with the correct target arises, and that in both early and late detected errors conflict between competing segments has led to detection.
Journal of Memory and Language 10/2013; · 2.80 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Older talkers speak slower than young ones, but speech tempo has increased in the last decades. Have present-day older talkers slowed down with age or have they sped up with their community? This study investigates longitudinal patterns in articulation rate in formal speeches presented annually by Queen Beatrix between her ages 42 and 74. Her tempo decreased first and then increased in the last decade. Within a speech, acceleration and shortening increased longitudinally. These results suggest that this talker's preferred tempo has not decreased but increased longitudinally, presumably in accommodation to an increasing tempo in the Dutch language community.
The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 06/2013; 133(6):EL452-EL457. · 1.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The oral fluency level of an L2 speaker is often used as a measure in assessing language proficiency. The present study reports on four experiments investigating the contributions of three fluency aspects (pauses, speed and repairs) to perceived fluency. In Experiment 1 untrained raters evaluated the oral fluency of L2 Dutch speakers. Using specific acoustic measures of pause, speed and repair phenomena, linear regression analyses revealed that pause and speed measures best predicted the subjective fluency ratings, and that repair measures contributed only very little. A second research question sought to account for these results by investigating perceptual sensitivity to acoustic pause, speed and repair phenomena, possibly accounting for the results from Experiment 1. In Experiments 2–4 three new groups of untrained raters rated the same L2 speech materials from Experiment 1 on the use of pauses, speed and repairs. A comparison of the results from perceptual sensitivity (Experiments 2–4) with fluency perception (Experiment 1) showed that perceptual sensitivity alone could not account for the contributions of the three aspects to perceived fluency. We conclude that listeners weigh the importance of the perceived aspects of fluency to come to an overall judgment.
Language Testing 01/2013; 30(2):159-175. · 1.11 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In most collections of segmental speech errors, exchanges are less frequent than anticipations and perseverations. However, it has been suggested that in inner speech exchanges might be more frequent than either anticipations or perseverations, because many half-way repaired errors (Yew…uhh..New York) are classified as repaired anticipations, but may equally well be half-way repaired exchanges. In this paper it is demonstrated for experimentally elicited speech errors that indeed in inner speech exchanges are more frequent than anticipations and perseverations. The predominance of exchanges can be explained by assuming a mechanism of planning and serial ordering segments during the generation of speech that is qualitatively similar to the scan-copier model proposed by Shattuck-Hufnagel (Sublexical units and suprasegmental structure in speech production planning. In P.F. MacNeilage (Ed.), The production of speech (pp. 109–136). New York: Springer).
Journal of Memory and Language 01/2013; 68(1):26–38. · 2.80 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Previous reports on the relationship between clear speech acoustic changes and the clear speech intelligibility benefit for vowels have used an "extreme groups" design, comparing talkers who produced a large clear speech benefit to talkers who produced little or no clear speech benefit. In Ferguson and Kewley-Port (2007), 12 talkers from the Ferguson Clear Speech Database (Ferguson, 2004) were assigned to groups based on the vowel identification performance of young normal-hearing listeners, while Ferguson (2010) chose 20 talkers based on the performance of elderly hearing-impaired listeners. The present investigation is employing mixed-effects models to examine relationships among acoustic and perceptual data obtained for vowels produced by all 41 talkers of the Ferguson database. Acoustic data for the 1640 vowel tokens (41 talkers X 10 vowels X 2 tokens X two speaking styles) include vowel duration, vowel space, and several different measures of dynamic formant movement. Perceptual data consist of vowel intelligibility in noise as reflected by the performance of young normal-hearing and elderly hearing-impaired listeners. Analyses will explore the relative importance of the various clear speech acoustic changes to the clear speech vowel intelligibility effect as well as the degree to which this relationship varies between the two listener groups.
The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 09/2012; 132(3):2003. · 1.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Motor resonance processes are involved both in language comprehension and in affect perception. Therefore we predict that listeners understand spoken affective words slower, if the phonetic form of a word is incongruent with its affective meaning. A language comprehension study involving an interference paradigm confirmed this prediction. This interference suggests that affective phonetic cues contribute to language comprehension. A perceived smile or frown affects the listener, and hearing an incongruent smile or frown impedes our comprehension of spoken words.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In native speech, durational patterns convey linguistically relevant phenomena such as phrase structure, lexical stress, rhythm, and word boundaries. The lower intelligibility of non-native speech may be partly due to its deviant durational patterns. The present study aims to quantify the relative contributions of non-native durational patterns and of non-native speech sounds to intelligibility. In a Speech Reception Threshold study, duration patterns were transplanted between native and non-native versions of Dutch sentences. Intelligibility thresholds (critical speech-to-noise ratios) differed by about 4 dB between the matching versions with unchanged durational patterns. Results for manipulated versions suggest that about 0.4–1.1 dB of this difference was due to the durational patterns, and that this contribution was larger if the native and non-native patterns were more deviant. The remainder of the difference must have been due to non-native speech sounds in these materials. This finding supports recommendations to attend to durational patterns as well as native-like speech sounds, when learning to speak a foreign language.
Speech Communication 11/2010; · 1.28 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Speech impairment often occurs in patients after treatment for head and neck cancer. New treatment modalities such as surgical reconstruction or (chemo)radiation techniques aim at sparing anatomical structures that are correlated with speech and swallowing. In randomized trials investigating efficacy of various treatment modalities or speech rehabilitation, objective speech analysis techniques may add to improve speech outcome assessment. The goal of the present study is to investigate the role of objective acoustic-phonetic analyses in a multidimensional speech assessment protocol.
Speech recordings of 51 patients (6 months after reconstructive surgery and postoperative radiotherapy for oral or oropharyngeal cancer) and of 18 control speakers were subjectively evaluated regarding intelligibility, nasal resonance, articulation, and patient-reported speech outcome (speech subscale of the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire-Head and Neck 35 module). Acoustic-phonetic analyses were performed to calculate formant values of the vowels /a, i, u/, vowel space, air pressure release of /k/ and spectral slope of /x/.
Intelligibility, articulation, and nasal resonance were best predicted by vowel space and /k/. Within patients, /k/ and /x/ differentiated tumor site and stage. Various objective speech parameters were related to speech problems as reported by patients.
Objective acoustic-phonetic analysis of speech of patients is feasible and contributes to further development of a speech assessment protocol.
Folia Phoniatrica et Logopaedica 02/2009; 61(3):180-7. · 1.08 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This paper investigates phonological recursion by means of early accent placement (stress shift), which marks the initial boundary of a phonological phrase. The question is whether or not this early pitch accent placement can be applied recursively to phonological phrases that are embedded in larger phonological phrases. This was investigated in a map task experiment, with various Dutch phonological phrases as landmarks drawn on the map. The target phrases consisted of a noun modified by either one adjective, of the type aardrijkskùndig genóotschap‘geographical society’, or by two adjectives, of the type Amsterdàms aardrijkskùndig genóotschap, i.e. syntactically recursive noun phrases. An early pitch accent was realized on both the first and the second adjective in 30% of the spoken syntactically recursive phrases: e.g. Àmsterdams àardrijkskundig genóotschap. These prosodically recursive structures indicate that recursion may apply in phonology, as it does in syntax.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Alaryngeal speakers (speakers in whom the larynx has been removed) have inconsistent control over acoustic parameters such as F(0) and duration. This study investigated whether proficient tracheoesophageal and oesophageal speakers consistently convey phrase boundaries. It was further investigated if these alaryngeal speakers used the same hierarchy of acoustic boundary cues that is found in normal speakers. A perception experiment revealed that listeners identified prosodic boundaries less accurately in oesophageal speakers. Acoustic analyses showed that laryngeal speakers used pre-boundary lengthening and pitch movements at phrase boundaries, as expected. Tracheoesophageal speakers used pre-boundary-lengthening and pauses and oesophageal speakers used pauses to convey phrase boundaries. Two oesophageal speakers also paused inappropriately, within phrases. Although these two speakers differentiated between air-injection and prosodic pauses, listeners were unable to tell the two types of pauses apart. Alaryngeal speakers might benefit from therapy that specifically teaches them how to optimize their prosodic abilities.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Speech tempo (articulation rate) varies both between and within speakers. The present study investigates several factors affecting tempo in a corpus of spoken Dutch, consisting of interviews with 160 high-school teachers. Speech tempo was observed for each phrase separately, and analyzed by means of multilevel modeling of the speaker's sex, age, country, and dialect region (between speakers) and length, sequential position of phrase, and autocorrelated tempo (within speakers). Results show that speech tempo in this corpus depends mainly on phrase length, due to anticipatory shortening, and on the speaker's country, with different speaking styles in The Netherlands (faster, less varied) and in Flanders (slower, more varied). Additional analyses showed that phrase length itself is shorter in The Netherlands than in Flanders, and decreases with speaker's age. Older speakers tend to vary their phrase length more (within speakers), perhaps due to their accumulated verbal proficiency.
The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 03/2008; 123(2):1104-13. · 1.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Psycholinguistic data are often analyzed with repeated-measures analyses of variance (ANOVA), but this paper argues that mixed-effects (multilevel) models provide a better alternative method. First, models are discussed in which the two random factors of participants and items are crossed, and not nested. Traditional ANOVAs are compared against these crossed mixed-effects models, for simulated and real data. Results indicate that the mixed-effects method has a lower risk of capitalization on chance (Type I error). Second, mixed-effects models of logistic regression (generalized linear mixed models, GLMM) are discussed and demonstrated with simulated binomial data. Mixed-effects models effectively solve the “language-as-fixed-effect-fallacy”, and have several other advantages. In conclusion, mixed-effects models provide a superior method for analyzing psycholinguistic data.