The Impact of ASR on the Automatic Analysis of Linguistic Complexity and Sophistication in Spontaneous L2 Speech

by   Yu Qiao, et al.

In recent years, automated approaches to assessing linguistic complexity in second language (L2) writing have made significant progress in gauging learner performance, predicting human ratings of the quality of learner productions, and benchmarking L2 development. In contrast, there is comparatively little work in the area of speaking, particularly with respect to fully automated approaches to assessing L2 spontaneous speech. While the importance of a well-performing ASR system is widely recognized, little research has been conducted to investigate the impact of its performance on subsequent automatic text analysis. In this paper, we focus on this issue and examine the impact of using a state-of-the-art ASR system for subsequent automatic analysis of linguistic complexity in spontaneously produced L2 speech. A set of 34 selected measures were considered, falling into four categories: syntactic, lexical, n-gram frequency, and information-theoretic measures. The agreement between the scores for these measures obtained on the basis of ASR-generated vs. manual transcriptions was determined through correlation analysis. A more differential effect of ASR performance on specific types of complexity measures when controlling for task type effects is also presented.


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