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Background According to sociolinguistic frameworks such as Communication Accommodation Theory, English native speakers modify their speech to meet the communicative needs of non-native speakers (Beebe & Giles, 1984). However, when foreigner-directed speech is used inappropriately, it may lead to overaccommodation, which in turn can act counterproductively toward communicative goals. Purpose To date, much of the research on foreigner-directed speech toward non-native speakers has focused on its acoustic parameters, but few studies have examined how second language learners interpret it emotionally and pragmatically. Method This study asked 36 English second language learners to listen to four types of speech accommodation styles (casual, clear, infant-directed, and foreigner-directed) spoken by four different speakers. Their task was to evaluate the extent to which the speaker was easy to understand, competent, condescending, friendly, and respectful. Results Acoustic analyses of the speech stimuli showed that speakers used distinct acoustic cues for each speech accommodation style, for example, slower speech rate for foreigner-directed speech. The rating results show that second language learners of English judged casual speech as least intelligible, least competent, and least friendly compared to all other speech types. Respectfulness ratings show that participants perceived casual speech as less respectful compared to clear speech and infant-directed speech, but not foreigner-directed speech. However, no effects were found for condescension. Conclusion The results suggest second language learners in the current experiment generally perceived speech accommodation positively.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Journal of speech, language, and hearing research : JSLHR
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Procedures for assisting a person with a speech or language disorder to communicate with maximum efficiency.
The study of speech or language disorders and their diagnosis and correction.
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