Medium Transferability: Managing Speech-to-Text Disfluencies

By Elizabeth Meddeb.

Published by The Technology Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

To analyze the role that the graphic display of orally originated language activity plays in shaping discourse, I asked four students to compose a series of essays using speech recognition dication software. The interactions were videotaped and transcribed, and subsequently examined in terms of how the participants handled some of the problems (i.e., speech disfluencies) in transferring language from the oral medium to the written medium, which led to the identification and categorization of the type and frequency of speech disfluencies that occurred over the course of the study.

With regard to the role that the software played in shaping the discourse of the participants, I found that, over time, the graphic presentation of orally originated language prompted some of the participants to consciously avoid features of spontaneous speech such as filled pauses, meta-comments, repetition/reading sentence parts aloud, errors in formulating the precise oral punctuation command, false starts, and laughing. The transcripts show over the passage of time, two of the particpants learned to manage many of the features of human speech production that are not under full conscious control. I attribute this shift in speaking style to the situational feature of the graphic presentation of speech, which seemed to serve as the impetus to produce spoken language to be looked at, not listened to. The reduction of speech disfluencies in the participants’ speech suggests a heightened awareness of the semiotic interrelatedness of the spoken and written modes in general, and learning to speak to write in particular.

Keywords: Speech Recognition, Human Computer Interaction, Educational Linguistics, Technology in Education, Composition Studies

The International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp.163-180. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 873.555KB).

Dr. Elizabeth Meddeb

Assistant Professor, Foreign Languages/ESL/Humanities, The City University of New York (CUNY), Jamaica, NY, USA

Elizabeth Meddeb is Assistant Professor of ESL and Humanities at York College/CUNY. She is also Director of Women's Studies at York. She teaches advanced composition courses to non-native speakers of English, as well as introductory courses in linguistics and humanities. Her research interests include the interaction between technology and language use. She is currently working on a research grant that investigates how speech recognition dictation technology shapes both spoken and written language use for non-native speakers of English. This study is an outgrowth of her dissertation research at Columbia University and her work experience at IBM's TJ Watson Research Center.

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