The purpose of this study was to examine the accuracy of English-speakers in determining the word recognition score of native Taiwan Mandarin-speakers. Digitally recorded Mandarin word lists were presented to 10 native Mandarin-speakers from Taiwan (five male, five female), from whom oral and written responses were collected. Oral responses were scored by 30 native English-speakers, 15 of which had no experience with Mandarin and 15 with two to three years of college-level Mandarin courses or equivalent knowledge of Mandarin. The judges who had experience with Mandarin were able to score the WRS tests with 97% accuracy (with scores ranging from 10% below to 4% above the actual score of the test). The judges without experience with Mandarin scored the WRS tests with 88.8% accuracy (with scores ranging from 34% below to 26% above the actual score of the test). An analysis of variance found that there was a significant difference between a judge's knowledge of Mandarin and his or her ability to accurately score the oral responses. An inspection of the performance of the judges in respect to the five different Mandarin tones indicated that there are some tone combinations that are more difficult to score correctly than others. While it is apparent that tone combination may play a role in the ability to accurately score WRS words in Mandarin, the implications of this for a clinical setting are uncertain because words with these tone combinations were not heard often. Tone perception training for the judges or simply making clinicians aware of this difficulty in tone identification may be of benefit in overcoming this obstacle.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Communication Disorders



Date Submitted


Document Type





word recognition score, Mandarin, speech audiometry, Taiwan, English, scoring methods, novice, fluent, experienced