Native English Speakers

Julia Kim (English)

Native English Speakers' Comprehension and Perception of a Nonnative Speech

The purpose of the study is to investigate how native English speakers’ perceptions and understanding of nonnative speakers’ speech is affected in two different conditions: first, when the nonnative speech is grammatically accurate but marked for a noticeable foreign accent; second, when the nonnative speech displays both an accent and common nonnative speakers’ grammatical errors such as omission of articles and pluralizing non-count nouns. In order to examine the relationship between these variables and the listeners’ comprehension and perception, this study analyzes data collected from a experimental study involving speech samples of three non-native speakers of English--a Korean, a Chinese, and a Russian—and six groups of U.S. college students as listeners.  By examining how the two variables of non-native's speech—accent and grammar-- might play a role in the native speakers’ responses, this study aims to contribute to the ongoing discussion in shaping the lingua franca core in the World Englishes context by identifying grammar items that may or may not affect comprehension and perception of the listeners. This knowledge will help aid in establishing pedagogical priorities in teaching grammar when English is taught as a lingua franca (ELF).

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