Ratings of speech naturalness of children ages 8-16 years

Suzanne Coughlin-Woods, Mark E. Lehman, Paul A. Cooke

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The focus of this cross-sectional study was the investigation of Speech Naturalness (speech that sounds normal or natural to the listener) of 60 normal speaking children and adolescents between the ages of 8 and 16 years. 26 naive adult listeners rated the naturalness of videotaped and computer-presented speech samples, using a 9-point-Likert rating scale (1: highly natural sounding speech and 9: highly unnatural sounding speech). The children and adolescents who participated as speakers were distributed among 5 age groups (8, 10, 12, 14, and 16 yr.) with 6 boys and 6 girls in each group. Each child demonstrated normal articulation, language, voice, and speech fluency skills. Age and sex comparisons indicated boys' and girls' speech was rated comparably; however, 8-yr.-olds' speech was rated as significantly less natural than those of 12-, 14-, and 16-yr.-olds. Preliminary ratings of Speech Naturalness for normal speaking children were presented. Suggestions for the clinical application of the findings as a target criterion in treatment programs with communicatively impaired children were suggested. Replication with a larger and more representative sample is in order.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-304
Number of pages10
JournalPerceptual and Motor Skills
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2005


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