Intelligibility of Korean-accented English: Effects of Listener’s Familiarity


The current research examines the Korean-accented English (KoE) intelligibility to give an account of the listener familiarity benefits (Interlanguage speech intelligibility benefit, Bent & Bradlow, 2003; Shared-L1 advantage, Harding, 2011). This study compares the intelligibility of KoE between four listener groups with different levels of the accent familiarity: two groups familiar with KoE (Korean-speaking learners of English, and native English speaking teachers residing in Korea over a decade), and other two groups less familiar with KoE (Japanese-speaking learners of English, and native English college students). A total of ninety-one participants listened to a recording in the KoE accent and completed a dictation test, filling in the blank in a sentence. Results indicated that KoE was the most intelligible to native English speaking college students, followed by native English teachers living in Korea and Korean college students. KoE was found to be the least intelligible to Japanese speaking learners of English. Being familiar with KoE was not shown to be a deciding factor because two of the less familiar groups — Japanese-speaking learners of English and native English college students — performed either the best or worst. Drawing on the experiment results, we argue that having greater familiarity with KoE does not necessarily facilitate nor impede the intelligibility.

Author Information
Bohyon Chung, Hanbat National University, South Korea
Hyun Kyung Miki Bong, Ritsumeikan University, Japan

Paper Information
Conference: IICEHawaii2021
Stream: Foreign Languages Education & Applied Linguistics (including ESL/TESL/TEFL)

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon