lochland-intelligibilityof-2011 - DRO

Presenter: Paul Lochland
Trends & Perspectives
Speaker factors
Listener factors
Implications for TESOL
Trends & Issues
The spread of English
= 300 million ‘Native Speakers’ (NS)
= 300 million ‘Non- Native Speakers’ (NNS) (Strevens, 1980)
= 320 - 380 million NS
= 1 billion NNS (Crystal, 1997)
Text in here
English as a lingua franca (Elf) in the academic domain of an inner
circle country
Proportion of overseas students at Australian universities that come from non-English
speaking countries.
Deakin University = 17.3%
Monash University = 20.1%
Melbourne University = 21.12%
La Trobe University = 30.6%
Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology = 36%
(Deakin University, 2011; La Trobe University, 2011; Marginson, 2011; RMIT, 2011)
Traditional perspectives
SLA research shrouded in NS perspectives
Only NS can judge the intelligibility of English as an Additional Language (L2) speech
Current perspectives
There is a significant gap in our understanding of how foreign-accented English speech is
perceived by Non-Native Listeners (NNL) (Derwing & Munro, 1997, 2009; Munro, 2008; Munro &
Derwing, 1995, 1999, 2010)
Native Listeners (NL) and NNL may be affected differently by certain pronunciation
features of L2 speech (Kashiwagi & Snyder, 2008)
refers to a listener’s ability to accurately recognise and record individual words
Method of measurement
- Traditional approach: Transcription of speech samples based on
grammatical units
- New approach: Speech samples derived from phonological units, or
Wallace Chafe’s notion of an intonation unit (Lochland,
may be defined as the degree of contrast between a listeners’ expectation of
phonological patterns and the perception of speech sounds at any given time
means a passive experience with an accent
describes an active experience that results from phonetic training
Speaker factors
Short term vocal outputs
Speech rate
- Natural speech rates influence intelligibility for NL (Firth, 1992; Kashiwagi & Snyder, 2008)
- Likewise, natural speech rates affect intelligibility for NNL (Kashiwagi & Snyder, 2008)
- Synthesised speech rates affect both NL and NNL (Jones, Berry & Stevens, 2007)
Quasi- independent of intelligibility and accentedness for NL. (Derwing & Munro, 1997, 2009;
Munro, 2008; Munro & Derwing, 1995, 1999, 2010)
Similarly, the independence of accentedness judgments and intelligibility for NNL
(Lochland, forthcoming; Munro, Derwing & Morton, 2006)
Long term vocal outputs
Linguistic features
 Suprasegmental features contribute to intelligibility for NL (Anderson-Hsieh, Johnson & Koehler,
1992; Anderson-Hsieh & Koehler, 1988; Derwing, 2008; Gallego, 1990; Johansson, 1978; Munro & Derwing, 1995,
2001; Meng, Tseng, Kondo, Harrison and Viscelgia, 2009; Nida, 1957; Tajima, Port, & Dalby, 1997
 A few studies have investigated the influence of L2 suprasegmentals on NNL (Field, 2005;
Jenkins, 1998)
Segmentals influence NL (Derwing, 2008; Koster & Koet, 1993 and Fayer & Krasinski, 1987 as cited in
Munro & Derwing, 1999, p. 289; Field, 2005)
Likewise, segmentals have been found to impact the perceptions of NNL ( Deterding &
Kirkpatrick, 2006; Field; Jenkins, 1998, 2000; Zielinski, 2008)
However, only some segmentals may impact intelligibility for NNL (Field, 2005)
Listener factors
No Exposure
NL find novel accented L2 speech intelligible (Munro,Derwing & Morton, 2006; Kirkpatrick,
Deterding & Wong, 2008)
The intelligibility of novel foreign accents for NNL (Lochland, forthcoming; Munro et al, 2006)
 Exposure to an L2 accent improves its intelligibility for NL
(Bradlow & Bent, 2008; Catford,
1950; Floccia, Butler, Goslin & Ellis, 2009; Kennedy & Trofimovich, 2008; Nelson, 2008; Norris, McQueen &
Cutler, 2003)
 Exposure to a particular L2 accent also increases intelligibility for NNL (Lochland,
Exposure doesn’t improve the intelligibility of an L2 accent for NL (Gass & Varonis, 1984;
Munro, Derwing & Morton, 2006; Kirkpatrick, Deterding & Wong, 2008)
Exposure to a specific accent doesn’t improve intelligibility for NNL (Munro et al, 2006)
Familiarity leads to increased intelligibility of foreign accents for NL (Munro et al, 2006)
Combination of exposure and familiarity increase intelligibility for NL (Sabin and Wright,
2006 as cited in Bradlow & Bent, 2008, p. 727)
Shared L1 advantage
No benefit (Hayes-Harb, Smith, Bent & Bradlow, 2008; Lochland, forthcoming; Major, Fitzmaurice, Bunta, and
Balasubramanian, 2002; Harding, 2008)
Benefit (Bent & Bradlow, 2003; Munro et al., 2006; Smith & Bisazza, 1982)
Shared isochronous advantage
Intelligibility enhanced when L2 interlocutors share language family (e.g. the syllable
timed languages of Spanish and French) ( Lochland, forthcoming; Major, Fitzmaurice, Bunta &
Balasubramanian, 2002)
Shared L1- Elf advantage
Intelligibility is improved when a listener’s L1 shares pronunciation features with an Elf
(Deterding & Kirkpatrick, 2006)
Implications for TESOL
Pronunciation focus
A balanced approach to the teaching of suprasegmentals and segmentals
Listening focus
Exposing learners to and phonetically train them with accents pertinent to their
communicative needs.
Expose learners to a variety of L2 accents to facilitate the development of perceptual
Evaluate the possibility of listening test bias due to shared L1/ isochronous advantage
Although research findings indicate that NNL and NL share similar perceptions of L2 features, there is
still a significant gap in our understanding of possible factors that may influence the intelligibility of L2
speech for NNL. For example, a number of studies have suggested that segmentals may play a
fundamental role in the intelligibility of L2 speech for NNL. Despite this, “during the past 25 years,
pronunciation teachers have emphasized suprasegmentals rather than segmentals in promoting
intelligibility” (Levis, 2005). In addition, recent publications have emphasized the need for current
pedagogical practices to focus on suprasegmentals (Hahn, 2004), and stressed ”the importance of
suprasegmental training in [L2] acquisition (Meng, Tseng, Kondo, Harrison and Viscelgia, 2009, p.
1715). It appears that the call for research to consider the perspectives of NNL has, for the most part,
fallen on deaf ears. Given that the usage of English between NNS is growing at an exponential rate,
further studies into the perceptions of NNL are certainly warranted.
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