The Effects of International Accents and Shared First Language on Listening Comprehension Tests

Okim Kang, Ron Thomson, Meghan Moran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This study examines the effect of incorporating a variety of international English accents into a simulated TOEFL listening comprehension test in growing recognition of internationalization of language teaching and learning in the field of TESOL. Although some high-stakes English proficiency exams have begun incorporating speech samples produced by speakers from a range of inner circle English-speaking backgrounds (e.g., Britain, the United States, Australia), the inclusion of samples produced by speakers of outer and expanding circle English varieties (e.g., India, Nigeria, Mexico, South Korea) has been largely avoided. For this study the researchers recruited speakers from six distinct English varieties to produce speech samples for a mock TOEFL iBT listening exam. Listeners who spoke with the same six international English accents were then recruited to take the resulting tests. Results indicate that when accented English is highly comprehensible, listening test scores for stimuli based on high-proficiency speakers of outer and expanding circle varieties of English are not significantly lower than they are in response to stimuli based on inner circle varieties of English. With respect to a shared first language effect on test scores when test materials are spoken in the test taker's own accent, results are complex but inconclusive.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalTESOL Quarterly
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018

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listening comprehension
language
stimulus
internationalization
listener
South Korea
Nigeria
Language
Listening Comprehension
Accent
speaking
Mexico
inclusion
India
Teaching
learning
TOEFL
Stimulus
International English
Varieties of English

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

Cite this

The Effects of International Accents and Shared First Language on Listening Comprehension Tests. / Kang, Okim; Thomson, Ron; Moran, Meghan.

In: TESOL Quarterly, 01.01.2018.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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