Effect of noise on attitudes and intelligibility in EMI lectures

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English as a medium of instruction in settings in which the listeners are L2 users has led to concern over learning outcomes for students as well as stereotyping of lecturers. Students report problems understanding their (L2) lecturers’ accent, but this concern has typically been treated as a sign of stereotyping towards non-native speakers. Low intelligibility, then, is seen as a product of prejudice. Some researchers, however, have proposed theorizing negative attitudes partially as a consequence of more effort required to understand unfamiliar accents.

In this study we test L2 listeners’ perceived and actual understanding of as well as attitudes towards one familiar and one less familiar accent. We further manipulate the effort required to understand the speakers by adding noise simulating the adverse listening conditions in which instruction often occurs.

Perceptions of the native speaker are negatively affected by noise. Understanding is lower in high noise conditions and she is perceived as less capable. Contrary to our expectations, the listeners’ evaluation of the L2 speaker is not affected by noise. The uptake, we suggest, is that we should not be overly concerned with L2-L2 English medium instruction in adverse listening conditions
Original languageEnglish
Article number100912
JournalJournal of English for Academic Purposes
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020

ID: 246865039