The effects of speech rate on Spanish oral exam results
Wendorf, Arthur Herman
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This study examines the effects that speech rate has on the perception of communication, fluency, grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation in university undergraduate Spanish oral exams. First, speech samples were obtained from students of advanced undergraduate Spanish courses. Then, five ten-second selections were made from selected student samples, and these selections were accelerated by 15% and 30%. Copies of these modified and unmodified samples were then randomly presented to listeners who rated them on 5-point scales. The results indicate that speech rate does indeed significantly affect the perception of communication and fluency, and to a lesser degree, vocabulary and pronunciation. The perception of grammar was not affected by speech rate. Additionally, it was found that whether or not a student had studied Spanish in an immersion environment also significantly affected how they were perceived by the listeners, though the gender, position and nativeness of the listeners did not have a significant effect on the overall results.