First Advisor

Mary Gordon-Brannan

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

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


Speech Communication




Intelligibility of -- Testing Speech, Children -- Language -- Testing



Physical Description

1 online resource ( 2, v, 68 p.)


Most of the previous published research involving intelligibility has focused on persons with various disabilities or delays. Minimal research has been conducted on intelligibility in young children with no diagnosed speech and/ or language disorders. The result is a gap in normative data by which to set a standard to judge speech as being at an acceptable level of intelligibility for a particular age group. The focus of this pilot study was to collect normative data on the intelligibility of young children, ages 3:6 ±2 months, with no diagnosed speech and/or language disorder. ~ Thirteen subjects, ages 3:6 ±2 months, were recruited from the greater Portland/Vancouver area. These subjects were screened for normal development in speech sound production, expressive/receptive language, and hearing. It was also established that English was the primary language spoken in the home. Resonance, voice quality, and fluency were informally assessed by the researcher during the course of the session and found to be normal. The 100-word speech samples were collected by the researcher on audiotape and later played back to two listeners, who were familiar with the topic but unfamiliar with the speaker. The listeners orthographically transcribed the samples and a comparison was made by the researcher between the two sets of written transcriptions. This comparison provided the percentage of intelligible words, out of a possible 100, which were understood by both listeners. The results showed the mean intelligibility percentage for 31/2-year-old children with no diagnosed speech and/or language disorders to be 88% (SD = 5.7%) with a range of intelligibility from 76% to 96 % . Both the mode and the median for this sample were 90 % . Several other variables were addressed as points of interest but the comparisons were not investigated in depth. The focus of this study was to collect, in a methodically documented manner, normative data on intelligibility in 3 1/2-year-olds. When the results from this study are compared to the only other available data (Weiss, 1982), they were found to fall within 1 SD of each other (SD = 5.7%), indicating that there are no measurable differences between the findings.


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