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Phonetics Laboratory


First results from the collaborative project ‘PerMaSC: Speech Perception through Masks in School Contexts’ were presented by Phonetics Lab member Julia Schwarz at the Cambridge Language Sciences Symposium 2021.

The project, initiated by PhD Candidates Katrina Kechun Li and Julia Schwarz, investigates the underlying factors of speech perception difficulties caused by face masks, including missing visual cues, subtle changes to the acoustic signal, and variation in semantic predictability, and whether these challenges are similar for school children and adults. PerMaSC aims to address current questions and concerns about the use of face masks in classrooms as well as provide some new insight into the theoretical underpinnings of integrating multiple linguistic cues in speech processing. The preliminary results can be viewed online on Cambridge Open Engage.

The study forms part of a new collaboration between the Phonetics Laboratory (Julia Schwarz, Katrina Kechun Li, Jasper Hong Sim, Yixin Zhang, Brechtje Post & Kirsty McDougall), the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit (Elizabeth Buchanan-Worster), and the Faculty of Education (Jenny Gibson) and has received funding from the Cambridge Language Sciences Incubator Fund.