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Journal Article

The Lombard intelligibility benefit of native and non-native speech for native and non-native listeners


Marcoux,  Katherine
Center for Language Studies, External Organizations;
International Max Planck Research School for Language Sciences, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society;

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Marcoux, K., Cooke, M., Tucker, B. V., & Ernestus, M. (2022). The Lombard intelligibility benefit of native and non-native speech for native and non-native listeners. Speech Communication, 136, 53-62. doi:10.1016/j.specom.2021.11.007.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000A-A1CA-C
Speech produced in noise (Lombard speech) is more intelligible than speech produced in quiet (plain speech). Previous research on the Lombard intelligibility benefit focused almost entirely on how native speakers produce and perceive Lombard speech. In this study, we investigate the size of the Lombard intelligibility benefit of both native (American-English) and non-native (native Dutch) English for native and non-native listeners (Dutch and Spanish). We used a glimpsing metric to measure the energetic masking potential of speech, which predicted that both native and non-native Lombard speech could withstand greater amounts of masking to a similar extent, compared to plain speech. In an intelligibility experiment, native English, Spanish, and Dutch listeners listened to the same words, mixed with noise. While the non-native listeners appeared to benefit more from Lombard speech than the native listeners did, each listener group experienced a similar benefit for native and non-native Lombard speech. Energetic masking, as captured by the glimpsing metric, only accounted for part of the Lombard benefit, indicating that the Lombard intelligibility benefit does not only result from a shift in spectral distribution. Despite subtle native language influences on non-native Lombard speech, both native and non-native speech provides a Lombard benefit.