Reactions to second language speech
Influences of discrete speech characteristics, rater experience, and speaker first language background
This study investigates how Mandarin and Slavic language speakers’ comprehensibility, accentedness, and fluency ratings, as assigned by experienced teacher-raters and novice raters, align with discrete linguistic measures, and raters’ accounts of influences on their scoring. In addition to examining mean ratings in relation to rater experience and speaker first language background, we correlated ratings with segmental, prosodic, and temporal measures. Introspective reports were segmented, coded, enumerated, and submitted to loglinear analysis to elucidate influences on ratings. Results showed that ratings were strongly correlated with prosodic goodness and moderately correlated with segmental errors, implying the importance of both segmentals and prosody in L2 speech ratings. Experienced teacher-raters provided lengthier reports than novice raters, producing more comments for all coded categories where an error was identified except for pausing (a dysfluency marker). This may be because novice raters observed little else about the speech or struggled to pinpoint or articulate other features.
Keywords: accent, comprehensibility, English as a second language, fluency, pronunciation assessment, raters, rating scales, speech perception
Published online: 01 September 2020
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