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Speech shadowing and speech comprehension


Speech Communication 4(1-3): 55-74
Speech shadowing and speech comprehension
Pioneering research by Chistovich and her colleagues used speech shadowing to study the mechanisms of immediate speech processing, and in doing so exploited the phenomenon of close shadowing, where the delay between hearing a speech stimulus and repeating it is reduced to 250 msec or less. The research summarised here began with an extension of Chistovich's findings to the close shadowing of connected prose. Twenty-five percent of the women tested were able to accurately shadow connected prose at mean delays ranging from 250 to 300 msec. The other women, and all the men tested, were only able to do so at longer latencies, averaging over 500 msec. These are called distant shadowers. A second series of experiments established that close, just as much as distant shadowers, were syntactically and semantically analysing the material as they repeated it. This was reflected in the ways their spontaneous errors were constrained, and in their sensitivity to disruptions of the syntactic and semantic structure of the materials they were shadowing. A third series of experiments showed that the difference between close and distant shadowers was in their output strategy. Close shadowers are able to use the products of on-line speech analysis to drive their articulatory apparatus before they are fully aware of what these products are. This means that close shadowing not only provides a continuous reflection of the outcome of the process of language comprehension, but also does so relatively unaffected by post-perceptual processes. In this sense, therefore, close shadowing provides us with uniquely privileged access to the properties of the system.

Accession: 006461483

DOI: 10.1016/0167-6393(85)90036-6

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