Measuring effectiveness of semantic cues in degraded English sentences in non-native listeners.Int J Audiol. 2014 Jan; 53(1):30-9.IJ
This study employed Boothroyd and Nittrouer's k (1988) to directly quantify effectiveness in native versus non-native listeners' use of semantic cues.
Listeners were presented speech-perception-in-noise sentences processed at three levels of concurrent multi-talker babble and reverberation. For each condition, 50 sentences with multiple semantic cues and 50 with minimum semantic cues were randomly presented. Listeners verbally reported and wrote down the target words. The metric, k, was derived from percent-correct scores for sentences with and without semantics.
Ten native and 33 non-native listeners participated.
The presence of semantics increased recognition benefit by over 250% for natives, but access to semantics remained limited for non-native listeners (90-135%). The k was comparable across conditions for native listeners, but level-dependent for non-natives. The k for non-natives was significantly different from 1 in all conditions, suggesting semantic cues, though reduced in importance in difficult conditions, were helpful for non-natives.
Non-natives as a group were not as effective in using semantics to facilitate English sentence recognition as natives. Poor listening conditions were particularly adverse to the use of semantics in non-natives, who may rely on clear acoustic-phonetic cues before benefitting from semantic cues when recognizing connected speech.