International Journal of Speech Language and the Law, Vol 22, No 1 (2015)

Disfluencies in the speech of intoxicated speakers

Florian Schiel, Christian Heinrich
Issued Date: 8 Jul 2015

Abstract


Our hypothesis is that speakers under the influence of alcohol produce more linguistic/phonetic errors because of the negative effect of ethanol on cognitive processes and speech motor control. We examined the speech of 150 German speakers of both genders with regard to rates of 6 types of disfluencies and 2 durational measures. The intoxication of speakers ranged from 0.050% to 0.175% blood alcohol concentration; other factors investigated are speaker gender and speaking style (read, spontaneous, command&control). We found that most rates of disfluencies as well as durations increase with intoxication – but not for command&control speech; gender has no influence; individual speakers deviate from the general trend frequently. We conclude that for forensic investigations disfluency rates should be applied with greatest care (i.e. individual speaker only), and command&control speech as typically used in automotive systems is not suitable for the automatic detection of intoxication on the basis of disfluency rates.

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DOI: 10.1558/ijsll.v22i1.24767

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