SBE 2020: Submission Detail
||Speech Variation, Graded Competency, and Human Communication
||A major obstacle to language learning, language technologies, and the treatment of language disorders is accounting for language variation. Our research paradigm investigates the delicate boundary between permissible variation and speech that reveals idiosyncrasy or impoverished learning. At the heart of this white paper, however, is the scientifically validated finding that rich communication relies on the flexibility in speech production capacity. This proposition runs counter to normative and rigid notions of speech competence.
We stress the urgency of recognizing that speech variation is the norm, not the outlier, in human communication. We argue that this has profound implications for speech teaching and learning. We highlight the importance of collecting multi-channel speech data that captures muscle activity, movement patterns, contact patterns, air flow, and multi-system coordination in order to build models that predict the range of speech that allows for effective communication. These models must explore speech variation and be able to predict the occurrence of extreme and rare events. Investing in empirically-based speech research with a goal to model variation will strengthen the infrastructure of speech research (intellectual and technological capital) that will have profound impacts on health, society, and technological advancement.
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