intelligibility_notes

intelligibility_notes - Massachusetts Institute of...

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Unformatted text preview: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science 6.345 / HST.728 Predicting Speech Intelligibility Issued: February 18, 2010 1 Speech Intelligibility When communicating via speech, the speaker attempts to influence the listeners state of knowledge of the universe by producing a message using acoustical waveforms that are transmitted via sound propagation 1 and the listeners auditory system to linguistic processing stages of the listeners central nervous system. 1.1 Measures of Intelligibility Intelligibility is an indicator of how well the message intended by the speaker is understood by the listener. Depending on the application, intelligibility can be measured by 1. Having the listener answer questions about the content of the message. 2. Asking the listener answer questions about general knowledge, i.e., the question is the message. 3. Having the listener transcribe (or repeat) a spoken syllable, word, or sentence. Each of these measures has both advantages and disadvantages. For example, measures related to method 1 has a certain face validity, since the purpose of speaking is to affect the listeners state of knowledge. On the other hand, the ability to answer such questions requires other skills, such as memory, beyond the ability to interpret what was said. Obviously, questioning general knowledge assumes that the listener posesses knowledge of the relevant sort. Unfortunately, there is as yet no reliable way to relate one measure to another. The most commonly used measures in current use are those of method 3. Note that intelligibility is not the only measure of how well the spoken utterance is received by the listener. The linguistic content of a message can be interpreted perfectly even when the identity of the speaker and the paralinguistic content (e.g., emotional stat of the speaker) of the message are ambiguous or misleading. 2 Factors that Affect Intelligibility The intelligibility of a message, as measured by the listeners ability to transcribe spoken syllables, words, or sentences, has been shown to depend on 1. The precision with which the message is spoken. 2. The linguistic complexity of the message. 1 When the face of the speaker is visible to the listener, the actions of the face may convey a portion of the message when perceived via speechreading. Some deaf-blind individuals attempt to discern the intended message by using their hands to monitor the facial actions via the TADOMA method, e.g., Norton et al., 1977. 1 3. Distortions of the acoustic realization of the spoken message. 4. The proficiency of the listener in interpreting the received message. 2.1 Talker and Listener Proficiency That different speakers are more or less difficult to understand when communicating the same message via the same sequence of words is common knowledge. Similarly, a given speaker can produce the same message with different degrees of clarity. For example, speakers seemcan produce the same message with different degrees of clarity....
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This note was uploaded on 05/08/2010 for the course CS 6.345 taught by Professor Glass during the Spring '10 term at MIT.

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intelligibility_notes - Massachusetts Institute of...

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