Rubrecht Brian Guenter
   Department   Undergraduate School  , School of Commerce
   Position   Professor
Date 2012/10/26
Presentation Theme Perceptions of Japanese EFL learners' /r/ and /l/ pronunciation: Comparing native speakers' ratings of word-level utterances
Conference Asian Conference on Education 2012
Promoters IAFOR
Presentation Type Speech (General)
Contribution Type Individual
Details It is well known that English /r/ and /l/ pronunciation poses production difficulty for many native Japanese speakers, but the intelligibility and acceptability of that production ultimately lies with listener perceptions and judgments. As it was speculated that listener dialect may influence these perceptions and judgments, research was conducted with native speakers who used different varieties of English rating native Japanese speakers’ production of /r/ and /l/ in various utterances. Initial data analyses (Rubrecht 2009) revealed statistically significant differences at but not above the word level. Because listeners have been found to primarily use segmental cues such as /r/ and /l/ to determine strength of accent (e.g., Riney, Takagi & Inutsuka 2005), which could influence pronunciation instruction, training, and assessment, a second set of data analyses was conducted, the aim of which was to determine more precisely how the raters from the initial study differed in their perceptions of the participants’ word-level phonemic productions. Results indicate statistical significance between the raters in multiple word positions for the two phonemes, thereby legitimizing questions regarding the potential lack of pronunciation instruction and evaluation standards across educators and raters.