English as a lingua franca: mutual intelligibility of Chinese, Dutch and American speakers of English

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English as a lingua franca: mutual intelligibility of Chinese, Dutch and American speakers of English

Type: Doctoral Thesis
Title: English as a lingua franca: mutual intelligibility of Chinese, Dutch and American speakers of English
Author: Wang, H.
Journal Title: LOT dissertation series
Publisher: LOT
Issue Date: 2007-01-10
Keywords: Intelligibility
interlanguage benefit
non-native accent
SUS test
SPIN test
contrastive analysis
formant charts
confusion matrix
Linear Discriminant Analysis
Abstract: English has become the language of international communication. As a result of this development, we are now confronted with a bewildering variety of ‘Englishes’, spoken with non-native accents. Research determining how intelligible non-native speakers of varying native-language backgrounds are to each other and to native speakers of English has only just started to receive attention. This thesis investigated to what extent Chinese, Dutch and American speakers of English are mutually intelligible. Intelligibility of vowels, simplex consonants and consonant clusters was tested in meaningless sound sequences, as well as in words in meaningless and meaningful short sentences. Speakers (one male, one female per language background) were selected so as to be optimally representative of their peer groups, which were made up of young academic users of English. Intelligibility was tested for all nine combinations of speaker and listener backgrounds. Results show that Chinese-accented English is less intelligible overall than Dutch-accented English, which is less intelligible than American English. Generally, the native-language background of the speaker was less important for the intelligibility than the background of the listener. Also, the results reveal a clear and consistent so-called interlanguage speech intelligibility benefit: speakers of English – whether foreign or native – are more intelligible to listeners with whom they share the native-language background than to listeners with a different native language.
Promotor: Supervisor: Heuven V.J.J.P. van
Faculty: Faculty of Humanities
University: Leiden University
Uri: urn:isbn:9789078328209
Handle: http://hdl.handle.net/1887/8597

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application/pdf Summary in Dutch 122.9Kb View/Open
application/pdf Summary in Chinese 142.3Kb View/Open
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