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Review-Critique of Enric Llurda StudyEffects of intelligibility and speaking rates on judgments of non-native speakers? personalities Review/Critique of a Study I?ve chosen to review ?Effects of intelligibility and speaking rates on judgments of non-native speakers? personalities? by Enric Llurda. This study analyses the response given by 28 American undergraduate students at an American university to a passage read by 10 ESL speakers of 5 different L1 Backgrounds. I found this study to be sufficient in design and validity; however I disagreed with how Llurda chose to emphases his results. Previous Research In this study Llurda gives a background of previous research in this area. He begins with Hinofotis and Bailey?s research in which said researchers examined the intelligibility problems of International Teaching Assistants at UCLA when teaching undergraduates. The research pointed to problems with non-native speakers pronunciation and intelligibility (290). Llurda also mentions Fayer and Krasinski?s research focusing on irritation and intelligibility which found that pronunciation and hesitation were the most distracting features, followed far behind grammar (291). Llurda also discussed research by Munro and Derwing (231-292) which specifically dealt with speaking rate which asked native speakers and non-native speakers to listen to recording of people speaking at various speeds to try to determine which speed was at the normal level. Non-native speakers? view of the normal rate was less than the native speakers view of the normal rate. Research Question This previous research led Llurda to come up with three hypotheses. Hypothesis 1: Intelligibility is related to proficiency, hypothesis 2: speaking rates affect intelligibility, hypothesis 3: higher intelligibility and proficiency ratings positively correlate with native speakers? social evaluations of non-native speakers. After conduction this research, Llurda added a fourth hypothesis, the degree of irritation experienced by listeners is determined both by the speakers? intelligibility and L1 background (292). Method The speakers were twelve female graduate students at SUNY Stony Brook, between the ages of 25 to 35. They had seven different L1s. They had English proficiency between very advanced to low-intermediate. The listeners were 28 native speakers of American English and undergraduate students at Stony Brook enrolled in an Introductory Spanish course (293). The twelve non-native speakers were recorded as they read a 100 word passage from the new york Times. The listeners were given a questionnaire which consisted of ten statements on a five point scale. The statements included two independent variables ?command of English? and ?intelligible.? Four questions were related to competence (?intelligent, well-educated, leadership ability, and hard-working) and four were related to affective factors (likeable, physically attractive, sense of humour, and trustworthy.) The listeners also indicated the speaker speed of speech, and had to guess from a choice of ten languages, what they thought the first language of the speaker was (293-294). Claim Llurda claims that ?the results show that proficiency and intelligibility in L2 most highly correlate with competence-related traits, such as ?intelligent?, ?well-educated?, ?leadership ability?, and hard-working?. Speaking rate only appears to affect intelligibility above a critical number of syllables per second. Irritation is affected by assumptions about out a speaker?s L1 background, rather than a real L1 (289).? Importance of this Research This research is important to the discourse of tesol and the non-native speaker discourse. As Llurda states, ?the present study may contribute to increased awareness of the multiple elements that play a role in the social evaluation of NNS speakers, and may point to the need for more coherent and non-discriminating attitudes towards non-native speakers.? The more salient point of this study as it relates to every day teaching contexts is, as Llurda say, the evidence supports the claim that non-native speakers cannot rely on only basic language skills and communicative competence to interact with the native speech community. Critique I felt that Llurda simply glanced over the most important finding of his research, that native speakers had no idea what the L1 was of the non-native speakers. While I don?t agree with the idea that one ?correct? English exists, I feel that many people believe that there is such a thing as a ?right? way to speak. If Llurda wants to use these college kids as examples of native speakers and thinks they can judge things accurately, he?s a bit off. If these students are prejudiced against what they find to be a specific speech community, what does that say of the speech community these students are a part of?

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