Dialectal Effects on a Clinical Spanish Word Recognition Test PurposeAmerican Spanish dialects have substantial phonetic and lexical differences. This study investigated how dialectal differences affect Spanish/English bilingual individuals' performance on a clinical Spanish word recognition test.MethodForty Spanish/English bilinguals participated in the study—20 dominant in Spanish and 20 in English. Within each group, 10 listeners spoke the Highland dialect, and ... Research Article
Research Article  |   June 01, 2013
Dialectal Effects on a Clinical Spanish Word Recognition Test
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Lu-Feng Shi
    Long Island University–Brooklyn Campus, NY
  • Luz Adriana Canizales
    Long Island University–Brooklyn Campus, NY
  • Correspondence to Lu-Feng Shi: lu.shi@liu.edu
  • Editor: Larry Humes
    Editor: Larry Humes×
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Research Article
Research Article   |   June 01, 2013
Dialectal Effects on a Clinical Spanish Word Recognition Test
American Journal of Audiology, June 2013, Vol. 22, 74-83. doi:10.1044/1059-0889(2012/12-0036)
History: Received June 30, 2012 , Accepted August 23, 2012
 
American Journal of Audiology, June 2013, Vol. 22, 74-83. doi:10.1044/1059-0889(2012/12-0036)
History: Received June 30, 2012; Accepted August 23, 2012
Web of Science® Times Cited: 5

PurposeAmerican Spanish dialects have substantial phonetic and lexical differences. This study investigated how dialectal differences affect Spanish/English bilingual individuals' performance on a clinical Spanish word recognition test.

MethodForty Spanish/English bilinguals participated in the study—20 dominant in Spanish and 20 in English. Within each group, 10 listeners spoke the Highland dialect, and 10 spoke the Caribbean/Coastal dialect. Participants were maximally matched between the 2 dialectal groups regarding their demographic and linguistic background. Listeners were randomly presented 4 lists of Auditec Spanish bisyllabic words at 40 dB SL re: pure-tone average. Each list was randomly assigned with a signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of quiet, +6, +3, and 0 dB, in the presence of speech-spectrum noise. Listeners responded orally and in writing.

ResultsDialect and language dominance both significantly affected listener performance on the word recognition test. Higher performance levels were obtained with Highland than Caribbean/Coastal listeners and with Spanish-dominant than English-dominant listeners. The dialectal difference was particularly evident in favorable listening conditions (i.e., quiet and +6 dB SNR) and could not be explained by listeners' familiarity with the test words.

ConclusionDialects significantly affect the clinical assessment of Spanish-speaking clients' word recognition. Clinicians are advised to consider the phonetic features of the dialect when scoring a client's performance.

Acknowledgment
The authors would like to thank all of the volunteers who participated in this study. The authors would also like to thank Sylvia Yúdice Walters for her insight on American Spanish dialects. Portions of this work were presented at the 2012 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Convention in Atlanta, GA.
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