Touch to Talk

In a dialogue-driven world, Dr. Lucy Pickering, director of the Applied Linguistics Laboratory, is working to improve the augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices that allow individuals with speech impairments to partake in conversations. In the study, “Linguistic Characteristics of AAC Discourse in the Workplace,” Pickering, her team of students and researchers from Georgia State University and the Georgia Institute of Technology, collected and transcribed recordings of workplace discourse from AAC and non-AAC users. Those recordings were used to identify speech patterns and strategies of AAC users and compare them to those of individuals who do not require the devices. The study amounted to more than 220 hours of speech, offering a corpus of language larger than any other including AAC users. Results indicate that AAC users produce more informational, non-narrative speech than their non-AAC counterparts. This information moves the researchers one step closer to providing the foundation for programming that will bring AAC users’ speech closer to the expectations of work environments.

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