ERIC Number: EJ868529
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Dec
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
Comprehensibility as a Factor in Listener Interaction Preferences: Implications for the Workplace
Derwing, Tracey M; Munro, Murray J.
Canadian Modern Language Review, v66 n2 p181-202 Dec 2009
Changing economic realities in Canada are likely to result in increased employment opportunities for immigrant professionals. In Alberta, where these changes have already begun, issues of language in the workplace have surfaced, some relating to oral skills. In this investigation of Canadian-born employees' preferences for 40 L2 accented voices, 16 native English speakers selected a preferred voice from pairs of Mandarin- and Slavic-language-accented speech samples varying in comprehensibility. We found that comprehensibility figured importantly in their choices, as did fluency. In fact, listener preferences were influenced by comprehensibility differences of about one point on a nine-point rating scale. An additional 14 native English speakers undertook a preference task in which speech samples were presented according to degree of accent. Although this latter group tended to prefer less accented over more accented speakers, accentedness itself was less important than comprehensibility when the two groups' preferences were compared. These findings are discussed with reference to LINC (Language Instruction to Newcomers in Canada) and other ESL programming and to English in the workplace.
Descriptors: Rating Scales, Foreign Countries, Mandarin Chinese, Employment Opportunities, English (Second Language), Second Language Learning, Economic Factors, Immigrants, Skilled Workers, Work Environment, Pronunciation, Native Speakers, Slavic Languages, Language Fluency, Second Language Instruction, Second Language Programs
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada