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Native and Nonnative Judgments of Intelligibility and Irritation

Joan M. Fayer and Emily Kransinski

This study compares the reactions of native English and native Spanish speakers who listened to tapes of Puerto Rican learners of English of various levels of proficiency.  The listeners completed a questionnaire that examines the following variables: intelligibility, grammar, pronunciation, intonation, wrong words, voice, hesitations, distraction and annoyance.  It was found that the English and Spanish listeners differed principally in how they rated the linguistic forms of the speakers and in the annoyance reported. The Spanish listeners rated the linguistic form much lower than did the English listeners and also reported more annoyance.  This indicates that the Spanish listeners were less tolerant toward nonnative speech than were the English listeners.  In addition, pronunciation and hesitations were reported by both groups of listeners to be, overall, the features most distracting from the message.
Fayer, J. & E. Krasinski 1987 Native and Nonnative Judgments of Intelligibility and Irritation. In Language Learning 37/3: 313-326.

Key points relevant to the study of filled pauses


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