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Using Listener Judgments to Investigate Linguistic Influences on L2 Comprehensibility and Accentedness: A Validation and Generalization Study

Saito, K; Trofimovich, P; Isaacs, T; (2017) Using Listener Judgments to Investigate Linguistic Influences on L2 Comprehensibility and Accentedness: A Validation and Generalization Study. Applied Linguistics , 38 (4) pp. 439-462. 10.1093/applin/amv047. Green open access

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Abstract

The current study investigated linguistic influences on comprehensibility (ease of understanding) and accentedness (linguistic nativelikeness) in second language (L2) learners’ extemporaneous speech. Target materials included picture narratives from 40 native French speakers of English from different proficiency levels. The narratives were subsequently rated by 20 native speakers with or without linguistic and pedagogical experience for comprehensibility, accentedness, and 11 linguistic variables spanning the domains of phonology, lexis, grammar, and discourse structure. Results showed that comprehensibility was associated with several linguistic variables (vowel/consonant errors, word stress, fluency, lexis, grammar), whereas accentedness was chiefly linked to pronunciation (vowel/consonant errors, word stress). Native-speaking listeners thus appear to pay particular attention to pronunciation, rather than lexis and grammar, to evaluate nativelikeness but tend to consider various sources of linguistic information in L2 speech in judging comprehensibility. The use of listener ratings (perceptual measures) in evaluating linguistic aspects of learner speech and their implications for language assessment and pedagogy are discussed.

Type: Article
Title: Using Listener Judgments to Investigate Linguistic Influences on L2 Comprehensibility and Accentedness: A Validation and Generalization Study
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/applin/amv047
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/applin/amv047
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions. © Oxford University Press 2015
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/1525578
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