Peer Perceptions of Hypernasal Speech
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Abstract Peer judgments of speech may conflict with professional judgments, and influence peer relationships. The purposes of this study were: 1) to obtain ratings of nasality from peers of children, 2) to compare the peer ratings with ratings made by an expert judge, and 3) to obtain judgments of social acceptance and compare those with the peer nasality ratings. Ten speech samples were audio recorded from speakers aged 8 to11 years. Four of the speakers had normal speech, and six had degrees of hypernasality. The listeners were 44 children ranging in age from 8 to 11. Listeners rated the samples on a 3-point scale with 1 = "not hypernasal", 2 = "kind of hypernasal", and 3 = "really hypernasal". The expert judge rated the samples for nasality at a different time using the same scale. The peer listeners also made five social acceptance ratings about each speaker using a 3-point scale where 1= "disagree", 2 = "kind of agree", and 3 = "totally agree". The mean (n = 44) nasality rating for each sample was compared to the rating provided by the expert judge. Results revealed there was no difference between mean peer ratings and expert ratings. As hypernasality increased, social attitude ratings became progressively more negative. These data showed that even young children could discern degrees of nasality/hypernasality in the speech of other children and their ratings were the same as an expert judge. Furthermore, as peer ratings of nasality increased, social attitudes about the speaker became progressively less favorable.