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Ungrammatical prosody does not hinder positive evaluations

Conference paper
Authors Elisabeth Zetterholm
Åsa Abelin
Published in Proceedings of ICPhS 2019
Place of publication Melbourne
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of Science
Language en
Keywords Prosody, comprehensibility, foreign accent, attitudes
Subject categories Phonetics


This paper presents a study of L1 speakers’ evaluations of speech by L2 speakers of Swedish. The evaluations concern degree of foreign accent and comprehensibility, as well as interpretations of emotions and attitudes of the L2 speakers. Furthermore, the evaluations are correlated with measurements of F0-variation and F0-level. Apart from L1 speakers being able to recognize a non-native accent in L2 speech, they often notice other factors such as comprehensibility and expression of emotions and attitudes when judging non-native speakers. The present study concerns whether there is a correlation between these factors and with the acoustic variables F0 level and F0 range. The results show that speakers who are evaluated as having a high degree of foreign accent and a low degree of comprehensibility are not necessarily negatively judged in terms of expression of attitudes or emotions. Furthermore, speech which is judged as expressing positive emotions and attitudes tend to have more varying F0 compared with speech which is judged to express negative emotions. The results are of interest for second language teaching with a special focus on pronunciation and prosody.

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