Ann Bradlow is the Abraham Harris Professor of Linguistics and Associate Dean for Graduate Studies in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern University. Bradlow received her PhD in Linguistics from Cornell University in 1993. She completed postdoctoral fellowships in Psychology at Indiana University and Hearing Science at Northwestern University. In 1998, Bradlow joined the Linguistics Department at Northwestern University where she directs the Speech Communication Research Group (SCRG). With grant support from the NIH (National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders), the SCRG pursues an interdisciplinary research program in acoustic phonetics and speech perception with a focus on speech intelligibility under conditions of talker-, listener-, and situation-related variability. Bradlow’s research has been published in over 65 articles in peer-reviewed journals. She is an elected fellow of the Acoustical Society of America and has served in numerous leadership and editorial roles.
Bilingual Speech Intelligibility
Speech intelligibility – the accuracy with which a particular speech signal produced by a particular talker is understood by a particular listener in a particular communication setting – is notoriously difficult to predict. Nevertheless, all else being equal, variation in intelligibility as assessed by word recognition accuracy is a common distinguishing feature of first-language (L1) versus second-language (L2) speech production and perception. Considering that many (perhaps most) conversations in the world today involve L2 participants, any account of speech intelligibility in real-world speech communication must address the role of the language backgrounds of the interlocutors.
This tutorial will review various strands of research that demonstrate a complex interplay between the language profiles of interlocutors and its impact on overall intelligibility. In addition to providing a coherent perspective on prior research on bilingual speech intelligibility, this tutorial aims to provide a map for future research with the ultimate goal of modeling speech intelligibility by humans and machines in speech communication situations with various language profiles. Throughout this tutorial, I will refer to current methodological and technical developments in corpus-based phonetics and interactive testing paradigms that open new windows on the dynamics of speech communication across a language barrier.