Perception of Individuals With Voice Disorders by Monolingual English, Bilingual Cantonese--English, and Bilingual Russian--English Women

Altenberg, Evelyn P.; Ferrand, Carole T.
August 2006
Journal of Speech, Language & Hearing Research;Aug2006, Vol. 49 Issue 4, p879
Academic Journal
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the attitudes of monolingual English, bilingual Cantonese--English, and bilingual Russian--English speakers toward individuals with voice disorders. Method: In a mixed experimental design, a total of 30 older and 29 younger female listeners from the 3 language groups rated the voices of 10 females, each with a mild, moderate, or severe voice disorder or with no voice disorder. A semantic differential scale was used to rate the speakers on 21 attributes. Results: Results indicate that the perception of individuals became increasingly negative as the severity of the disorder increased. Results also indicate that Cantonese--English bilinguals rated the individuals with severe voice disorders more negatively than did English monolinguals and that the language groups differed in their ratings for the attributes of beautiful, lovable, clean, and young. There was no overall effect of age of listener. Conclusion: The study demonstrates that although the language groups were uniform in ascribing more negative attributes to individuals as severity of the disorder increased, there were also significant differences between the groups. Exploration of these issues provides information useful to clinicians in setting priorities for intervention that take into account individuals' backgrounds as well as clinical factors.


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