The Effects of Phonetic Reduction on Actual and Perceived Comprehension by News Audiences
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 onditions 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.