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Title: Spoken word recognition and L2 listening performance : an investigation of the ability of Hong Kong learners to recognise the most frequent words of English when listening to news broadcasts
Author: Pemberton, R.
Awarding Body: University of Wales Swansea
Current Institution: Swansea University
Date of Award: 2003
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Since the late 1970s there has been extensive research into L1 spoken word recognition. However, in L2 listening research, there have been very few such studies, with most studies focusing on the final stage of speech processing (comprehension) and on how comprehension is affected by modifications to the spoken text and the use of strategies. The six experiments reported here are among the first to specifically focus on the spoken word recognition of L2 listeners. In the experiments, I investigate the word recognition rates of Hong Kong learners of English at intermediate level and above (university students and staff) listening to BBC news broadcasts. Using an innovative methodology that recorded the keystrokes made by participants when transcribing a recording, I was able to obtain insights into the listeners' initial perceptions of a section of speech. The results show that at the original speech rate (nearly 200 wpm), only one in three of the 1,000 most frequent words of English was recognised on first hearing a section of the news item, and only two in every three of these words were recognised on first attempting to transcribe the word. Even with slow speech rates (150 and 120 wpm) and short stretches of speech, this group of learners consistently recognised at most only three out of every four of the 1,000 most frequent words. At recognition rates of 75% and below, successful comprehension is shown to be extremely unlikely. The results suggest that the ability to recognise words (and especially frequent ones) in connected speech is a vital prerequisite for comprehension and the employment of top-down listening strategies. The thesis calls for systematic and wide-ranging research into L2 spoken word recognition, both with Hong Kong learners of English and L2 learners in general.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available