Can L2 Learners of English Comprehend Regional Varieties?

  • Kizzi Edensor-Costille (University of Caen Normandy)


For a long time, Received Pronunciation (RP) was generally accepted as the easiest British accent to understand. However, this assumption is being increasingly questioned with some studies indicating that RP is not always the most intelligible for non-native (L2) learners of English (Fraser Gupta, 2005; Ikeno & Hansen, 2007). In 2009, an experiment carried out on2 groups of French learners of English, showed that understanding various British and Irish accents is difficult for L2 learners of English (Edensor, 2010). The experiment was replicated in 2019 to determine if comprehension had improved. Both studies found the Cardiff accent to be the most intelligible and the accents were understood in a similar order. The results from 2019 revealed that comprehension of these accents had improved but that some accents remain difficult to process and understand.

How to Cite: Edensor-Costille, K. (2022). Can L2 learners of English comprehend regional varieties? In J. Levis & A. Guskaroska (eds.), Proceedings of the 12th Pronunciation in Second Language Learning and Teaching Conference, held June 2021 virtually at Brock University, St. Catharines, ON.

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Published on
19 Sep 2022
Peer Reviewed