Linguistic dimensions of second language accent and comprehensibility: Nonnative listeners' perspectives

Dustin Crowther, Pavel Trofimovich, Talia Isaacs

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Abstract

The current study investigated the effect of listener status (native, nonnative) and language background (French, Mandarin) on global ratings of second language speech. Twenty-six nonnative English listeners representing the two language backgrounds (n = 13 each) rated the comprehensibility and accentedness of 40 French speakers of English. These same speakers were
previously rated by native listeners and coded for 19 linguistic measures of speech (i.e. segmental errors, word stress errors, grammar accuracy) in Trofimovich and Isaacs (2012).
Analyses indicated no difference in global ratings between nonnative and native listeners, or between the two nonnative listener groups. Similarly, no major differences in the linguistic dimensions associated with each group’s ratings existed. However, analyses of verbal reports for a subset of nonnative listeners (n = 5 per group) demonstrated that each group attributed their ratings to somewhat different linguistic cues.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)160-182
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Second Language Pronunciation
Volume2
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Aug 2016

Keywords

  • accent
  • comprehensibility
  • English language
  • native
  • nonnative
  • pronunciation
  • raters

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