Science Project:

How Fast Can You Talk With Accuracy?

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Research Questions:

  • Who has the fastest recorded (& accurate) speech in the world?
  • What part of our brain controls speech?

Some people are said to talk too fast. Have you or have you heard some people speak rapidly during a presentation? Or do they just speak very fast in daily life as well?

It isn't good to speak too fast because our ears will not be able to recognize such fast speeds. But what is the fastest an average person can speak?

Materials:

  • Test subjects (obviously don't pick little kids because they don't have their speech down yet nor diagnosed speech-impaired individuals) Get as many as you can.
  • A software that can slow down speech while still being audible such as these 2:
    • http://www.nch.com.au/scribe/
    • http://audacity.sourceforge.net (it's free!)
  • The same selected passage for everyone to read (controlled) – Hint: Pick one that is around 100-200 words long.
  • A timer/stopwatch
  • Printer/Computer
  • Pen and paper for notes

Experimental Procedure

  1. Print out your chosen passage for your test subject to read. Do an accurate word count and determine the number of words in the passage. (This can usually be done efficiently in a word processor, but you can count it yourself as well) Write down and remember this number.
  2. Hand the passage to your test subject and instruct them to raise their hand when they are done reading the passage. This is so you will know when to press stop on the stopwatch.
  3. Give your test subject 3 counts (ready..set...go or 1,2,3) and instruct them to start reading the passage as fast and as accurate as they can. Stop the watch when your test subject raises his/her hand. Record this time.
  4. Using an audio software (such as Audacity), press the option to slow down or play back speech so you can hear word-for-word what the test subject has said....just in slow-mo.
  5. Count out any words that still sound inaudible, slurred, skipped, or incorrect. Take this number and divide by the number of total words in the passage and multiply by 100. This number will determine the percent accuracy. Record this.
  6. Repeat steps 2-5 for all of your test subjects.
  7. After you have tested all your subjects you should record your results in a reasonable manner and come up with a conclusion.
Suggested Chart

Speed

Accuracy

Notes

Test Subject #1

Test Subject #2

Test Subject #3

Terms/Concepts: Speech; Linguistics; Articulation; Brain

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speech

http://webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/speechbrain.html

Masur EF. (1995). Infants' early verbal imitation and their later lexical development. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 41, 286-306.OCLC89395784

Author: Sofia PC
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