Perception of Accented Speech by Residents in Assisted-Living Facilities.
This study measured how intelligible accented speech was to residents in assisted-living facilities. Twenty native speakers of English, ages 62 to 91, listened to words and sentences produced by native speakers of English, Taiwanese, and Spanish. Participants transcribed the words and sentences and rated speakers’ comprehensibility (i.e., listeners’ perceptions of difficulty in understanding utterances) and accentedness (i.e., how strong a speaker’s foreign accent is perceived to be) using separate 7-point Likert-type scales. On intelligibility measures, participants did significantly poorer on items spoken by the nonnative speakers of English compared to the native English speakers. Participants had higher scores on transcribing sentences compared to words produced by nonnative speakers of English. There was no interaction between native language and type of stimulus (i.e., words, sentences). Ratings of comprehensibility were highly correlated with ratings of accentedness. These data suggest that listening to accented speech may be difficult for native English listeners residing in assisted-living facilities and that further study of caregiver and resident communication strategies is needed. **********