The aim of this paper was to examine the effect of regional accent on speechreading accuracy and the utility of contextual cues in reducing accent effects. Study 1: Participants were recruited from Nottingham (n=24) and Glasgow (n=17). Their task was to speechread 240 visually presented sentences spoken by 12 talkers, half with a Glaswegian accent, half a Nottingham accent. Both participant groups found the Glaswegian talkers less intelligible (p<0.05). A significant interaction between participant location and accent type (p<0.05) indicated that both participant groups showed an advantage for speechreading talkers with their own accent over the opposite group. Study 2: Participants were recruited from Nottingham (n=15). The same visual sentences were used, but each one was presented with a contextual cue. The results showed that speechreading performance was significantly improved when a contextual cue was used (p<0.05). However the Nottingham observers still found the Glaswegian talkers less intelligible than the Nottingham talkers (p<0.05). The findings of this paper suggest that accent type may have an influence upon visual speech intelligibility and as such may impact upon the design, and results, of tests of speechreading ability.
Irwin, A., Pilling, M., & Thomas, S. (2011). An analysis of British regional accent and contextual cue effects on speechreading performance. Speech Communication, 53(6), 807-817. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.specom.2011.01.010