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The influence of semantic context on accentedness, comprehensibility, and intelligibility in extemporaneous foreign accented Swedish speech
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Swedish Language and Multilingualism, Centre for Research on Bilingualism.
2014 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
Påverkan av det semantiska sammanhanget på brytning, begriplighet och uppfattbarhet i spontan talad andraspråkssvenska (Swedish)
Abstract [en]

Bilingualism is nowadays a worldwide phenomenon due to different factors such as migration, education or political and geographical reasons. These factors have led to both individual and social bilingualism, which favor an increase of communicative encounters between native and non-native speakers of a certain language.

The above situation has contributed to a growth of studies on second language acquisition. Some of these studies have focused on native speakers’ perception and understanding of the non-native speech. More specifically, perception and effectiveness of communication through the analysis of three dimensions; accentedness, comprehensibility, and intelligibility. Although these three constructs have been intensively studied, little is known about the effect of semantic context on them. To our knowledge, just two studies have analyzed the effect of semantic context on native speakers’ judgments of the three dimensions by using read material. Therefore, this thesis extends the research on the influence of semantic context over these three dimension when the auditory stimulus corresponds to spontaneous non-native speech.

In this thesis, the results on accentedness, comprehensibility, and intelligibility tasks of 40 native Swedish speakers are presented. The findings showed that listeners’ perceived comprehensibility of the non-native speech is affected by the use of additional contextual information. That is, the listeners who were provided with additional visual information perceived the non-native speech as significantly easier to understand than those listeners who did not receive the extra contextual support. Furthermore, the results showed that accentedness and comprehensibility perception of the listeners is influenced by their actual understanding of the non-native speech.

Finally, this thesis proves the difficulty of studying the effect of semantic context on listeners’ response to accentedness, comprehensibility, and intelligibility when using spontaneous non-native speech. The results indicate that more research on how semantic context influences the perception of extemporaneous non-native speech is needed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 51 p.
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-104768OAI: diva2:726228
Available from: 2014-07-01 Created: 2014-06-17 Last updated: 2014-07-01Bibliographically approved

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