Speech Rate and Filled Pauses as Variables Involved in Efl Students’ Identification of Australian English
This article involves a psycholinguistic experimental study of how speech rate and filled pauses affect the identification of Australian English by the advanced students of English as a foreign language (EFL). 30 EFL students in total (further referred to as participants) were recruited for the study at Stockholm University (15 participants) and atLund University (15 participants) respectively. All the participants were university students enrolled at English II university programmes. All the participants indicated that their first language (L1) was Swedish. Bilingual participants were excluded from the experiment. The participants were asked to listen to four audio files in English and to identify the variety of the English language the audio files were presented in. Two of the audio files were read-alouds and two were free recalls. Free recalls contained filled pauses, whist no filled pauses were present in the read-alouds. The manipulated variables in this study involved filled pauses and speech rate. The aim of the study was to examine whether those variables would impact upon the participants’ identification of Australian English. The results of the study suggest that filled pauses and the difference in the speech rate map onto a high degree of variability in Australian English identification. Data analysis indicated that only 10% of the participants identified the speakers’ variety as Australian English. The results indicate that those participants who have experienced stays abroad in the English-speaking countries identify Australian English consistently. These findings are further presented and discussed in the article.
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