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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton 2022

Exploring the Use of Levenshtein Distances to Calculate the Intelligibility of Foreignaccented Speech

María Ángeles Jurado-Bravo


The Levenshtein Distance has been used to describe language varieties (e.g. Wieling 2012) or to predict the intelligibility of related languages (e.g. Gooskens et al., 2008), but it has barely been used to analyze foreign-accented speech (see Wieling et al. 2014 for an exception). This chapter aims to explore the use of ELF-based Levenshtein Distances (ELF-LD) (Jurado-Bravo & Kristiansen 2019) as a method to calculate the intelligibility of foreign-accented speech. Thirty sets of English speech fragments uttered by Spanish speakers were used as both input data to calculate ELF-LD and stimuli in an intelligibility test which was completed by respondents from different L1 backgrounds. A mixed-effects regression model suggests that the ELF-LD partly predicts the intelligibility of foreign-accented speech, but listener’s characteristics and the speaker also contribute to the overall intelligibility.

© 2021 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston
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