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Free Speech Lesson

How to Figure Out What An Intelligibility Score Really Means

When native U.S. English speakers talk just above a whisper, they measure about 50% intelligibility.

What does this mean to you?

A score around 50 percent for an international person means that listeners have to strain to understand them. It is about the same as listeners trying to get information from a native speaker talking a little louder than a whisper. Put another way, listeners need to rely a lot on context, grammar and gestures to figure out what the international talker and ESL person is saying.

Sometimes listeners succeed. 

Other times they are just frustrated.

My bad stammering when I was a youth and young adult made listeners uncomfortable. I could easily see that.

What a relief to be where I am now. Speech skill building in direct practice and taking every opportunity to practice new speaking skills made speaking a pleasure – for me and listeners.

 Yay for skill building. Yay for perseverance. Yay for good communication!

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