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, Black English -- Phonology, Communicative disorders in children -- Diagnosis



Physical Description

1 online resource (viii, 77 p.)


Linguistic diversification within our public schools has demanded professional responsibility from speech-language pathologists (SLPs) serving nonstandard English speaking students. Understanding and recognizing normal cultural linguistic differences is the responsibility of the SLP. This study focused on the relationship of three speech features to intelligibility ratings of 10 preschool aged Black English speakers as assigned by 4 licensed standard English speaking SLPs with varying experience. The SLPs also rated the perceived effect of these speech features (i.e., articulation, speaking rate, and resonance) on intelligibility. Using the Pearson product-moment correlation, ratings were correlated and found to demonstrate an association between intelligibility ratings and all three speech features assessed. To determine which speech feature affected intelligibility the most, a linear association using a stepwise regression was applied to all listeners' ratings. For 3 of the 4 listeners, the strongest association between intelligibility and articulation. Ratings of the 4th listener, the listener with the most experience(> 3 years) demonstrated the strong association between intelligibility and resonance. The listener with _the least amount of experience tended to assign higher severity ratings to ratings for intelligibility, rate, and resonance than did the other listeners. Findings from this study demonstrate a need for more studies within the area of Black English as well as further investigative studies to assess listeners' perception of dialectical differences based on the experience within linguistically different or similar communities. Various measures of intelligibility of Black English speakers should also be explored for more accurate assessment tools for this population. Clinical implications focus on the SLP's responsibility to be experienced and knowledgeable of the linguistic community they are serving.


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