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What Characterizes Comprehensible and Native‐like Pronunciation Among English‐as‐a‐Second‐Language Speakers? Meta‐Analyses of Phonological, Rater, and Instructional Factors

Saito, K; (2021) What Characterizes Comprehensible and Native‐like Pronunciation Among English‐as‐a‐Second‐Language Speakers? Meta‐Analyses of Phonological, Rater, and Instructional Factors. TESOL Quarterly 10.1002/tesq.3027. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

The current study presents two meta‐analyses to explore what underlies the assessment and teaching of comprehensible and nativelike pronunciation among English‐as‐a‐Second‐Language speakers. In Study 1, listener studies (n = 37) were retrieved examining the influence of segmental, prosodic, and temporal features on listeners’ intuitive judgements of comprehensibility and nativelikeness/accentedness as per different listener backgrounds (expert, mixed, L2). In Study 2, training studies (n = 17) were retrieved examining the effects of segmental, prosodic, and temporal‐based instruction on ESL learners’ pronunciation. The results showed that (a) comprehensibility judgements were related to a range of segmental, prosodic, and temporal features; (b) accentedness judgements were strongly tied to participants’ correct pronunciation of consonants and vowels; and (c) instruction led to larger gains in comprehensibility than in nativelikeness. Moderator analyses demonstrated that expert listeners were more reliant on phonological information. Greater effects of instruction on comprehensibility than nativelikeness became clearer, especially when the treatment targeted prosodic accuracy. The findings suggest that ESL practitioners should prioritize suprasegemental practice to help students achieve comprehensible L2 pronunciation. The attainment of nativelike pronunciation, by contrast, may require an exclusive focus on the refinement of segmental accuracy, which is resistant to the influence of instruction.

Type: Article
Title: What Characterizes Comprehensible and Native‐like Pronunciation Among English‐as‐a‐Second‐Language Speakers? Meta‐Analyses of Phonological, Rater, and Instructional Factors
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1002/tesq.3027
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1002/tesq.3027
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2021 The Authors. TESOL Quarterly published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of TESOL International Association. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Culture, Communication and Media
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10125305
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