Intelligibility of American English Vowels and Consonants Spoken by International Students in the United States PurposeThe purpose of this study was to examine the intelligibility of English consonants and vowels produced by Chinese-native (CN), and Korean-native (KN) students enrolled in American universities.Method16 English-native (EN), 32 CN, and 32 KN speakers participated in this study. The intelligibility of 16 American English consonants and 16 vowels spoken ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 01, 2014
Intelligibility of American English Vowels and Consonants Spoken by International Students in the United States
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Su-Hyun Jin
    University of Texas at Austin
  • Chang Liu
    University of Texas at Austin
  • Disclosure:The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure:The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.×
  • Correspondence to Su-Hyun Jin: shjin@utexas.edu
  • Editor: Craig Champlin
    Editor: Craig Champlin×
  • Associate Editor: Fan-Gang Zeng
    Associate Editor: Fan-Gang Zeng×
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Hearing
Research Article   |   April 01, 2014
Intelligibility of American English Vowels and Consonants Spoken by International Students in the United States
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2014, Vol. 57, 583-596. doi:10.1044/2014_JSLHR-H-13-0047
History: Received February 28, 2013 , Revised May 22, 2013 , Accepted July 26, 2013
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2014, Vol. 57, 583-596. doi:10.1044/2014_JSLHR-H-13-0047
History: Received February 28, 2013; Revised May 22, 2013; Accepted July 26, 2013
Web of Science® Times Cited: 6

PurposeThe purpose of this study was to examine the intelligibility of English consonants and vowels produced by Chinese-native (CN), and Korean-native (KN) students enrolled in American universities.

Method16 English-native (EN), 32 CN, and 32 KN speakers participated in this study. The intelligibility of 16 American English consonants and 16 vowels spoken by native and nonnative speakers of English was evaluated by EN listeners. All nonnative speakers also completed a survey of their language backgrounds.

ResultsAlthough the intelligibility of consonants and diphthongs for nonnative speakers was comparable to that of native speakers, the intelligibility of monophthongs was significantly lower for CN and KN speakers than for EN speakers. Sociolinguistic factors such as the age of arrival in the United States and daily use of English, as well as a linguistic factor, difference in vowel space between native (L1) and nonnative (L2) language, partially contributed to vowel intelligibility for CN and KN groups. There was no significant correlation between the length of U.S. residency and phoneme intelligibility.

ConclusionResults indicated that the major difficulty in phonemic production in English for Chinese and Korean speakers is with vowels rather than consonants. This might be useful for developing training methods to improve English intelligibility for foreign students in the United States.

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