Rating L2 speaker comprehensibility on monologic vs. interactive tasks
What is the effect of speaking task type?
Second language (L2) scholars generally agree that pronunciation development should prioritize understandable over nativelike speech. However, which linguistic features enable understanding lacks clarity. While monologic research indicates a combined effect of segmental and suprasegmental measures, interactive research has emphasized a segmental focus. The current study takes a step in addressing this divide by applying a monologic methodology to interactive speech. 20 L2 English learners completed one interactive and three monologic tasks. 36 native listeners rated each speaker per task for comprehensibility. I additionally coded all utterances for a series of phonological and fluency measures. Surprisingly, segmental and suprasegmental measures had minimal impact on listerners’ ratings. Instead, ratings for the two more linguistically-constrained monologic tasks demonstrated stronger associations with fluency measures than the less-constrained monologic and interactive tasks. This finding is likely an effect of (a) increased cognitive task demands placed on speakers, and (b) listener familiarity with L2 English speech.