Salient Prosodic Features on Judgments of Second Language Accent

Okim Kang, English Dept., Northern Arizona University

The study specified relative weights of individual prosodic features for listeners’ judgments on second language (L2) accent. It reported partial findings of Kang's (in press) research. Using the PRAAT computer program, 5 minutes of continuous in-class lectures from 8 international teaching assistants (ITAs) were acoustically analyzed for measures of speech rate, pauses, stress, and pitch range. ITAs’ first languages included Chinese, Arabic, Japanese, and Korean. Fifty eight US undergraduate students evaluated the ITAs’ accented speech. The results revealed that accent ratings were best predicted by pitch range and word stress measures.