First Advisor

Mary Gordon-Brannan

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Speech Communication


Speech Communication




Intelligibility of Speech -- Testing, Articulation disorders in children -- Diagnosis



Physical Description

1 online resource (2, vii, 73 p.)


When the primary mode of communication is speech, the crucial ingredient for successful communication is intelligible speech. The speech of children with disordered phonologies is often unintelligible. Accurate and reliable measurement of speech with compromised intelligibility is essential if appropriate treatment procedures are to be chosen and implemented. The focus of this investigation was the measurement of speech intelligibility in young children. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between the subjective method of trained ear estimation and the objective method of orthographic transcription when measuring the speech intelligibility of young speakers with a wide range of phonological profiency. For this study, the standard measurement of intelligibility was operationally defined as the percentage of words understood in a continuous speech sample derived from orthographic transcription of the sample. The secondary purpose was to investigate the accuracy of the speech-language pathologists' estimates as compared to the standard measure for each of the three groups: (a) the children with the most intelligibility, (b) with average intelligibility, and (c) with the least intelligibility. Data were collected from 47 children, aged 4:0 to 5:6, who comprised three groups with varying levels of intelligibility. Two groups of listeners who were unfamiliar with the speakers, but familiar with the topic, rated the children's percentage of intelligibility from continuous speech samples via orthographic transcription or trained ear estimation. The two methods of measuring speech intelligibility investigated in this study were found to correlate highly (£ = .96). However, there was a significant difference between the percentages derived from orthographic transcription and those derived from trained ear estimation for some speakers. The 1-test analyses revealed significant differences between the two measures for the two most intelligible groups, and no significant difference for the least intelligible group. It appears that the subjective method of estimating speech intelligibility with trained ears correlates with the objective method of orthographic transcription, but yields a different percentage score for some speakers.


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