Perceptual and acoustic analysis of speech intelligibility in Mandarin-speaking young adults with cerebral palsy

H. M. Liu*, C. H. Tseng, F. M. Tsao

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


This research investigated the relationship between specific acoustic features and perceptual judgements of speech intelligibility for utterances produced by 20 Mandarin-speaking young adults with cerebral palsy. Minimal phonetic contrasts were used to assess the relationship between acoustic features and intelligibility. Selected phonetic contrasts included two vowel contrasts (vowels differed in height and frontness) and four consonant contrasts (consonants differed on aspiration-unaspiration, affricate-fricative, stop-nasal, and place of stop articulation dimensions). Perceptual judgements from both item identification and scaling tasks reflected the diversity of speech intelligibility among these young adults with cerebral palsy. Individual phonetic contrasts correlated well with overall intelligibility; however, a multiple regression analysis revealed that aspiration-unaspiration, affricate-fricative and vowel frontness contrasts accounted for 99% of the variance in judgements of intelligibility. Seven acoustic parameters were examined (i.e., F1, F2-F1, VOT, friction duration, possibility of initial burst, nasality, and burst spectrum). Results indicated that cerebral-palsied speech was more varied than speech produced by normal age-matched subjects. F1, F2-F1, nasality scaling, and burst spectrum differentiated the acoustic patterns of the cerebral-palsied speakers from the normal speakers. Moreover, a multiple regression model predicted the intelligibility score with 74.8% of the variance accounted for by F2-F1, VOT, and possibility of initial burst. These findings are discussed in relation to production deficiencies and implications for improving intelligibility in the population of speakers with cerebral palsy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)447-464
Number of pages18
JournalClinical Linguistics and Phonetics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Acoustics
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Dysarthria
  • Mandarin
  • Phonetics
  • Speech intelligibility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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