Factors influencing ratings of speech naturalness in augmentative and alternative communication

Ann Ratcliff, Sue Coughlin, Mark Lehman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The concept of speech naturalness has been used in the field of speech-language pathology as a clinical measure of perceptual quality of "normal" and "not normal" speech. Whereas measures of intelligibility have been commonly used to assess the quality of voice output augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices using DECTalk™ speech, measures of speech naturalness have not. Three studies were conducted to determine the effects of manipulation of rate, pitch, and pause on ratings of speech naturalness by naive listeners of DECTalk synthetic speech. The results indicate that DECTalk speech characterized by faster rate and no added pauses was perceived as being more natural than speech with slow rate and added pauses. Manipulation of pitch had no effect on naturalness ratings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-19
Number of pages9
JournalAAC: Augmentative and Alternative Communication
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2002


  • Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC)
  • Speech naturalness
  • Synthesized speech


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