Second Language Learners' Phonological Awareness and Perception of Foreign Accentedness and Comprehensibility by Native and Non-native English Speaking EFL Teachers

Document Type: Research Paper


1 Shahid Beheshti University

2 Ferdowsi University of Mashhad


Phonological awareness has been defined as the speaker’s sensitivity to the phonological characteristics of a language. The present study is aimed at exploring the relationship between Iranian EFL learners’ explicit phonological awareness, their foreign accentedness and speech comprehensibility as perceived by native and non-native English-speaking EFL teachers. To determine the relationships, the researchers used a set of tasks that measured 34 EFL learners’ phonological awareness in five domains of rhyming, alliteration or onset, segmenting, blending, and manipulation. They also asked the participants to read a short text which was recorded and later rated for accentedness and comprehensibility on a 9-point scale. Results indicated that there was a significant correlation between the learners’ phonological awareness and perception of foreign accentedness. The same was true about the correlation between phonological awareness and speech comprehensibility. Furthermore, a strong positive correlation was found between foreign accentedness and comprehensibility, suggesting that foreign accentedness could affect comprehensibility of L2 speech. The findings suggest that pedagogical strategies that highlight formal properties of language be employed in second language classrooms to reduce learners’ foreign accent and increase their speech comprehensibility. 


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