Authors: Behrman A
Title: A Clear Speech Approach to Accent Management
Source: American Journal of Speech Language Pathology 2017 26(4): 1178-1192
Year: 2017
Research Design: Single Case Design

Purpose: A 5-session twice-weekly clear speech protocol with daily home practice was developed to enable Spanish-accented speakers of English to code-switch for increased listener ease of understanding. This study provides preliminary data to test the hypothesis that this protocol results in increased ease of understanding for native English listeners, not in decreased talker accentedness. Method: Using a single-case experimental design, 6 adult native Spanish speakers with English proficiency participated in the protocol. Ease of understanding and accentedness were probed at least 5 times pretraining, at each training session, and once per week for 5 weeks posttraining. Thirty native English–speaking listeners assessed the probes using 7-point scales for each measure. Results: Ease of understanding improved for all participants (mean improvement = 3.5 points; effect size range = 6.98 to 15.33). Accentedness improved for 4 of 6 participants (mean improvement = 2.3 points; effect size range = 4.04 to 10.48). At the outset, most participants expressed concern that this approach would highlight speech errors. Upon follow-up, all participants reported confidence in using the approach and found it helpful in daily communication. Conclusions: Further research should explore the effects of this protocol on intelligibility and acoustic metrics and their relationship to ease of understanding and accentedness.

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