In phonetics, Intelligibility is a measure of how comprehensible speech is, or the degree to which speech can be understood. Intelligibility is affected by spoken clarity, explicitness, lucidity, comprehensibility, perspicuity, and precision.
For satiable communication, the average speech level should exceed that of an interfering noise by 6dB; lower sound:noise ratios are rarely acceptable (Moore, 1997). Manifesting in a wide frequency range, speech is quite resistant to many types of masking frequency cut-off—Moore reports, for example, that a band of frequencies from 1000 Hz to 2000 Hz is sufficient (sentence articulation score of about 90%).
|Quantity to be measured||Unit of measurement||Good values|
|STI||Intelligibility (international known)||> 0.6|
|CIS||Intelligibility (international known)||> 0.78|
|%Alcons||Articulation loss (popular in USA)||< 10%|
|C50||Clarity index (widespread in Germany)||> 3 dB|
|RASTI (obsolete)||Intelligibility (international known)||> 0.6|
Word articulation remains high even when only 1–2% of the wave is unaffected by distortion:
Intelligibility with different types of speech
The human brain automatically changes speech made in noise through a process called the Lombard effect. Such speech has increased intelligibility compared to normal speech. It is not only louder but the frequencies of its phonetic fundamental are increased and the durations of its vowels are prolonged. People also tend to make more noticeable facial movements.
Clear speech is used when talking to a person with a hearing impairment. It is characterized by a slower speaking rate, more and longer pauses, elevated speech intensity, increased word duration, "targeted" vowel formants, increased consonant intensity compared to adjacent vowels, and a number of phonological changes (including fewer reduced vowels and more released stop bursts).
Infant-directed speech—or Baby talk—uses a simplified syntax and a small and easier-to-understand vocabulary than speech directed to adults Compared to adult directed speech, it has a higher fundamental frequency, exaggerated pitch range, and slower rate.
Citation speech occurs when people engage self-consciously in spoken language research. It has a slower tempo and fewer connected speech processes (e.g., shortening of nuclear vowels, devoicing of word-final consonants) than normal speech.
Hyperspace speech, also known as the hyperspace effect, occurs when people are misled about the presence of environment noise. It involves modifying the F1 and F2 of phonetic vowel targets to ease perceived difficulties on the part of the listener in recovering information from the acoustic signal.
- Speech Intelligibility Measurement Methods
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