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Second Language Speech Intelligibility Revisited: Differential Roles of Phonological Accuracy, Visual Speech, and Iconic Gesture

Wheeler, P; Saito, K; (2022) Second Language Speech Intelligibility Revisited: Differential Roles of Phonological Accuracy, Visual Speech, and Iconic Gesture. Modern Language Journal 10.1111/modl.12779. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Although intelligibility is a core concept in second language (L2) speech assessment and teaching research, the vast majority of previous work relies on audio-only stimuli. The current study set out to examine how linguistic and visual information jointly interact to determine the degree of speech intelligibility. Both first language (L1) and L2 English listeners were presented with stimuli that varied along 3 factors (vowel error, visual speech, and iconic gesture) and completed an orthographic transcription task. Results revealed that iconic gesture significantly increased all the listeners’ intelligibility scores when speech contained vowel errors. When speech did not contain errors, gesture increased intelligibility for L2 listeners but not L1 listeners. Visual speech had no significant effect on intelligibility in either listener group. Vowel error reduced intelligibility by approximately 20–30% for both L1 and L2 listeners. Findings suggest that visual modalities, especially gestures, have the potential to significantly affect the intelligibility of speech containing phonological errors.

Type: Article
Title: Second Language Speech Intelligibility Revisited: Differential Roles of Phonological Accuracy, Visual Speech, and Iconic Gesture
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/modl.12779
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1111/modl.12779
Language: English
Additional information: © 2022 The Authors. The Modern Language Journal published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of National Federation of Modern Language Teachers Associations, Inc. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: intelligibility, pronunciation, visual speech, gesture
UCL classification: 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
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10150664
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