Considerations on Quality
Language is the primary system of signs, used as a tool for thinking, acting, and communication (Lewandowski, 1980). Speech, as opposed to language, is the application of this system of verbal signs, in order to express and transmit information. In the sense of Peirce (1998) and Ogden and Richards (1960), a sign is something which represents something else and is understood by someone, thus a triadic relationship between (1) a verbal, visual or acoustic form, (2) a signed object (content) and (3) the interpreter (Lewandowski, 1980). When the quality of speech is investigated, is is very useful to differentiate between the form or surface structure, i.e. the acoustic presentation, and the contents or meaning. In the context of this work speech quality refers to the acoustic form of speech, in the sense that the acoustic presentation is the object of interest. However, the content has a strong influence on the perception of speech, and consequently on how a certain quality is attributed to the acoustic form. No natural relationship exists between the form (surface structure) and the contents. It is the human talker and listener who establishes this relationship.
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