The ASEAN Journal of Education ASEAN Journal of Education

University Students’ Perceptions on Assessing Levels of Intelligibility and Comprehensibility of the Pronunciation of Native English Teachers’ (NETs) as compared to the Pronunciation of Non-native English Teachers’ (NNETs)-A Case-Study with Freshmen Undergraduate Students at Woosong University, South Korea


Valentin Tassev,


Abstract

Abstract At large, the following research study investigates the relationship between students’ levels of understanding (comprehension) of various English accents and their attitudes to their desired pronunciation models in the future. The following study established that from students’ perspectives, the accents of native English teachers (NETs) are both more intelligible and comprehensible than the accents of non-native English teachers (NNETs). This study also revealed that intelligibility and comprehensibility could indeed be looked at interchangeably and they both complement each other. The findings also strongly suggest that the majority of the participants expressed preference for native speaker (NS) accents and, in particular, American English (AE) accent(s) as their desired pronunciation models because of their high levels of familiarity with that particular accent. Yet, the findings suggest that students were mostly informed about two pronunciation models of English amongst all: AE and South Korean English (SKE). Thus, despite the fact that they expressed preference for NS accents versus non-native speaker (NNS) accents, they seemed to be in favour and/or aware of precisely AE and SKE accents the most again because of issues of familiarity. These findings thus reveal that to a large extent, learners of English are not aware of the many other varieties of English that are existent in the world, no matter whether they are NS accents or NNS accents. In light of this, a conclusion could be drawn from this particular study that the study of English and, especially the area of pronunciation, should be viewed through its pluralistic prism and students should be informed about the many varieties of English that exist in the world. Keywords: comprehensibility, familiarity, intelligibility, perceptions

Abstract
At large, the following research study investigates the relationship between students’ levels of understanding (comprehension) of various English accents and their attitudes to their desired pronunciation models in the future. The following study established that from students’ perspectives, the accents of native English teachers (NETs) are both more intelligible and comprehensible than the accents of non-native English teachers (NNETs). This study also revealed that intelligibility and comprehensibility could indeed be looked at interchangeably and they both complement each other. The findings also strongly suggest that the majority of the participants expressed preference for native speaker (NS) accents and, in particular, American English (AE) accent(s) as their desired pronunciation models because of their high levels of familiarity with that particular accent. Yet, the findings suggest that students were mostly informed about two pronunciation models of English amongst all: AE and South Korean English (SKE). Thus, despite the fact that they expressed preference for NS accents versus non-native speaker (NNS) accents, they seemed to be in favour and/or aware of precisely AE and SKE accents the most again because of issues of familiarity. These findings thus reveal that to a large extent, learners of English are not aware of the many other varieties of English that are existent in the world, no matter whether they are NS accents or NNS accents. In light of this, a conclusion could be drawn from this particular study that the study of English and, especially the area of pronunciation, should be viewed through its pluralistic prism and students should be informed about the many varieties of English that exist in the world.
Keywords: comprehensibility, familiarity, intelligibility, perceptions
List of Abbreviations/Acronyms:
American English (AE)
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
British English (BE)
English as an International Language (EIL)
English Language Teaching (ELT)
Foreign/Second Language (L2)
Japanese English (JE)
Konglish (Korean-style English)
Native English Teacher (NET)
Native Speaker of English (NS)
Non-native English Teacher (NNET)
Non-native Speaker of English (NNS)
Research Question (RQ)
South Korean English (SKE)
Woosong University (WSU)
Introduction
The distinction between NETs and NNETs has long been at the core of debate within the field of applied linguistics and, in particular, English language teaching (ELT). This distinction has been primarily made with reference to the advantages that each type possesses when it comes to teaching skills and strategies; pedagogical skills; linguistic competence, teaching listening and speaking; teaching grammar and other areas. This particular study is an attempt to provide some insights into the role learners’ perceptions play in determining the strengths of NETs versus NNETs with regard to a particular area concerned: that of pronunciation and accent.1


Key words: comprehensibility, familiarity, intelligibility, perceptions
     
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