No AccessJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing ResearchResearch Article25 Apr 2024

Does Native Language Matter in Perceptual Ratings of Dysarthria?


    Despite the general agreement that dysarthria characteristics are largely language-independent, few efforts have attempted a systematic comparison across languages. To examine the role of native languages in the perception of speech characteristics of dysarthria secondary to Parkinson's disease (PD), auditory-perceptual ratings of dysarthria, and confidence level of the judgments were compared between two listener groups: language-matched and language-crossed.


    A total of 60 listeners (35 native speakers of Korean and 25 native speakers of American English) estimated speech abnormality for 20 speech dimensions using a visual analog scale method for both language-matched and language-crossed speech stimuli. Speech stimuli were passage readings of the respective languages obtained from individuals with and without PD.


    For speech dimension ratings, eight of 20 speech dimensions revealed significant differences in response to PD speech between the two listener groups, for most of which, language-crossed listeners' estimation was lower (i.e., more impaired) than language-matched listeners. For confidence-level ratings, language-matched listeners were less confident in the ratings of speakers with PD compared to the language-crossed listeners.


    The data support both language-universal and language-specific aspects in perceiving dysarthria characteristics, such that native language plays a role, especially when rating articulatory- and rhythmic-related characteristics. The findings are discussed with respect to the role of linguistic information, such as phonetic inventories and prosodic structures, in perceiving dysarthria characteristics.


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