At the simplest level, comprehensibility is defined as “the extent to which a listener can understand (comprehend) a spoken utterance in a communicative context.” This entry discusses three levels of speech production in conjunction with Stephen Camarata and Paul Yoder’s definition of comprehensibility as “understandable spoken language.” The first level is speech accuracy, or the extent to which individual target phonemes are correctly produced within a word. The second level is speech intelligibility, which is the extent to which an utterance can be understood when the intended message is known. The third and most functional level is speech comprehensibility, the extent to which a listener understands spoken messages in “real-world” speaking situations with the goal of communicating information to the listener(s).

These basic distinctions have been ...

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