The Interlanguage Speech Intelligibility Benefit: The Case of Arabic-Accented English

  • Ghazi Algethami (University of York)
  • John Ingram (University of Queensland)
  • Thu Nguyen


This study attempted to further examine the so-called Interlanguage Speech Intelligibility Benefit, which refers to the intelligibility advantage L2 listeners have over native listeners when they listen to L2 speech produced by speakers who share the same native language. 19 native speakers of Australian English and 19 L2 speakers of English whose native language is Saudi Arabic listened to English utterances produced by ten L2 Saudi speakers of English who were of two groups; high pronunciation proficiency and low pronunciation proficiency. Utterances from three native speakers of Australian English were also included as controls. The listeners were asked to transcribe what they thought the speaker had said in English orthography. The percentage of words identified correctly by each listener for each utterance is taken as the intelligibility score. Although the L2 Saudi listeners did slightly better than the native listeners when they listened to Saudi accented English, both listener groups did not differ significantly. The results corroborate previous findings suggesting that the intelligibility advantage for the non-native listeners is small, if any, and the phonetic properties of the L2 speech itself are strong determinants of how it is perceived regardless of the listeners’ native language.

How to Cite:

Algethami, G., Ingram, J. & Nguyen, T., (2010) “The Interlanguage Speech Intelligibility Benefit: The Case of Arabic-Accented English”, Pronunciation in Second Language Learning and Teaching Proceedings 2(1).

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Published on
31 Dec 2010