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Comparing speech identification under degraded acoustic conditions between native and non-native English speakers

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English became, without a doubt, the international language and many people are facing the challenge to study and work in an English-speaking environment. However, the ability of understanding, when it comes to non-native English speakers, can be affected by the acoustic characteristics of the environment. The research presented in this paper is focusing on higher education. The project investigates the differences in understanding between the native and non-native English speakers and especially the way that this is affected by the acoustic characteristics of the classrooms and the general acoustic environment. Participants from both categories took part in this project by taking a number of diagnostic rhyme test under a controlled noise-changing environment. The outcome of the research shows that the acoustic characteristics and the noise conditions of the classroom affect the performance of understanding, for both native and non-native English speakers, in different ways. Therefore, new intelligibility threshold needs to be defined for the design of these spaces when they are used for a diverse audience.

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AES - Audio Engineering Society