Browsing by Subject "INTELLIGIBILITY"

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  • Kuusinen, Antti; Saariniemi, Eero; Sivonen, Ville; Dietz, Aarno; Aarnisalo, Antti A.; Lokki, Tapio (2021)
    Objective Speech-in-noise tests are widely used in hearing diagnostics but typically without reverberation, although reverberation is an inextricable part of everyday listening conditions. To support the development of more real-life-like test paradigms, the objective of this study was to explore how spatially reproduced reverberation affects speech recognition thresholds in normal-hearing and hearing-impaired listeners. Design Thresholds were measured with a Finnish speech-in-noise test without reverberation and with two test conditions with reverberation times of similar to 0.9 and 1.8 s. Reverberant conditions were produced with a multichannel auralisation technique not used before in this context. Study sample Thirty-four normal-hearing and 14 hearing-impaired listeners participated in this study. Five people were tested with and without hearing aids. Results No significant differences between test conditions were found for the normal-hearing listeners. Results for the hearing-impaired listeners indicated better performance for the 0.9 s reverberation time compared to the reference and the 1.8 s conditions. Benefit from hearing aid use varied between individuals; for one person, an advantage was observed only with reverberation. Conclusions Auralisations may offer information on speech recognition performance that is not obtained with a test without reverberation. However, more complex stimuli and/or higher signal-to-noise ratios should be used in the future.
  • Kallio, Heini; Suni, Antti; Šimko, Juraj; Vainio, Martti (2020)
    Prosodic characteristics, such as lexical and phrasal stress, are one of the most challenging features for second language (L2) speakers to learn. The ability to quantify language learners' proficiency in terms of prosody can be of use to language teachers and improve the assessment of L2 speaking skills. Automatic assessment, however, requires reliable automatic analyses of prosodic features that allow for the comparison between the productions of L2 speech and reference samples. In this paper we investigate whether signal-based syllable prominence can be used to predict the prosodic competence of Finnish learners of Swedish. Syllable-level prominence was estimated for 180 L2 and 45 native (L1) utterances by a continuous wavelet transform analysis using combinations of f(0), energy, and duration. The L2 utterances were graded by four expert assessors using the revised CEFR scale for prosodic features. Correlations of prominence estimates for L2 utterances with estimates for L1 utterances and linguistic stress patterns were used as a measure of prosodic proficiency of the L2 speakers. The results show that the level of agreement conceptualized in this way correlates significantly with the assessments of expert raters, providing strong support for the use of the wavelet-based prominence estimation techniques in computer-assisted assessment of L2 speaking skills.
  • Helakorpi, Jenni; Lappalainen, Sirpa; Sahlström, Fritjof (2019)
    Although Finnish politics relating to the Roma tend to be perceived internationally as fairly successful, several obstacles exist for the Roma in education and the labour market. Training of Roma mediators has been actively promoted in Finland to improve the school performance and equality of Roma pupils. This article, based on ethnographic research, focuses on exploring how the current discursive terrain around the topics of tolerance and prejudice functions in the everyday work of mediators. It is argued that the present discourses in school expose the mediators to unequal power relations of tolerance. The terms for being tolerated are set by the potential tolerating actors, the school community. The mediators aim to supply knowledge about the Roma and try to address prejudices as representatives of the Roma. The study identified three different strategies that the mediators used when encountering prejudice: making sure one does not seem too different, parody and feigning naivety. The analysis suggests that the present discursive terrain creates obstacles to addressing inequalities, discrimination and racism in educational contexts. The responsibility for tackling discrimination is placed on the shoulders of individual Roma - not the whole school community.
  • Makkonen, Tanja; Korpijaakko-Huuhka, Anna-Maija; Ruottinen, Hanna; Puhto, Riitta; Hollo, Kirsi; Ylinen, Aarne; Palmio, Johanna (2016)
    The aim of this study was to explore the cranial nerve symptoms, speech disorders and communicative effectiveness of Finnish patients with diagnosed or possible amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) at their first assessment by a speech-language pathologist. The group studied consisted of 30 participants who had clinical signs of bulbar deterioration at the beginning of the study. They underwent a thorough clinical speech and communication examination. The cranial nerve symptoms and ability to communicate were compared in 14 participants with probable or definitive ALS and in 16 participants with suspected or possible ALS. The initial type of ALS was also assessed. More deterioration in soft palate function was found in participants with possible ALS than with diagnosed ALS. Likewise, a slower speech rate combined with more severe dysarthria was observed in possible ALS. In both groups, there was some deterioration in communicative effectiveness. In the possible ALS group the diagnostic delay was longer and speech therapy intervention actualized later. The participants with ALS showed multidimensional decline in communication at their first visit to the speech-language pathologist, but impairments and activity limitations were more severe in suspected or possible ALS. The majority of persons with bulbar-onset ALS in this study were in the latter diagnostic group. This suggests that they are more susceptible to delayed diagnosis and delayed speech therapy assessment. It is important to start speech therapy intervention during the diagnostic processes particularly if the person already shows bulbar symptoms. (C) 2016 Published by Elsevier Inc.