The effects of phonetic reduction on actual and perceived comprehension by news audiences

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

So-called “sloppy speech” is a frequent subject of criticism in broadcast and electronic news media. In particular, phonetic reductions are accused of compromising comprehension. This paper presents the results of an experimental self-sampling study (9015 participants) that examines the effects of reductions in scripted news speak. Overall, the results show that reductions have limited effects on comprehension. However, abstract, complex and ambiguous linguistic conditions seem to involve an efficient word recognition that is slightly hindered by reduced pronunciation. There are no correlations with sex, geographic region or length of education, whereas age seems to play a partial, though inconclusive, role.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournalism Studies
Volume19
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)745-763
ISSN1461-670X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4. Apr 2018

Keywords

  • broadcast journalism
  • comprehension
  • news speak
  • phonetic reduction
  • pronunciation
  • scripted speak

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