Perception of the English speech of Ukrainians by non-native speakers
Keywords:speech perception, foreign accent, degree of accentedness, comprehensibility, intelligibility
The article presents the results of the research on the English speech of Ukrainians and its perception by non-native speakers of English. The focus is on the phenomenon of the foreign accented speech and the claim that due to interference of two or more language systems in the consciousness of the speaker, the speech, which is produced and is the result of long-term mastering of the foreign language, is imbued with a foreign accent. A foreign accent is a language learner’s speech characteristic. It has
certain features on segmental and suprasegmental levels which distinguish it from the speech of the native speaker, marking its owner as a ‘foreigner’. These features are studied in order to improve further learning of the language and help learners to avoid potential mistakes that impede their communication and forge a negative image in the eye of a listener. To study the perception of foreign speech three main dimensions are singled out: degree of foreign accent, or degree of accentedness,
speech comprehensibility and speech intelligibility. The degree of accentedness measures the level of the foreign accent of the speaker by the listener, which ranges from a slight accent to a strong accent. Comprehensibility measures whether the message is understood as a whole, whereas intelligibility is responsible for the recognition of specific words or phrases. Following these criteria, the speech of ten Ukrainians is analyzed by 47 non-native speakers of English. It is concluded that the lower the rate of
an accent is, the higher the comprehensibility of the message gets. Although some instances of a strong accent and high comprehensibility are encountered too.
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