Exploring multilingual speakers’ perspectives on their intelligibility in English

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Multilingual speakers’ ability to communicate effectively and intelligibly in the language of their country of residence is crucial to their participation. This study explored multilingual speakers’ motivations for improving their intelligibility in English and their perceptions of potential barriers and facilitators to enhancing intelligibility. Participants were multilingual students and staff at 14 Australian universities. Extended response data from 137 survey responses were combined with seven semi-structured interviews, thematically analyzed using the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health as a conceptual framework, and coded using NVivo software. Three overarching themes were: motivations, barriers, and facilitators. Themes that emerged under motivations were meeting their own and others’ expectations and career aspirations. Themes that emerged under barriers to intelligibility were lack of self-awareness of reduced English intelligibility, use of ineffective strategies (e.g., fast speech rate to disguise pronunciation difficulties), language differences, lack of opportunity to practise English, participants’ perceptions of others’ negative attitudes to their English skills, and challenging conversational partners. Facilitators to intelligibility were emotional support from others, beneficial strategies (e.g., confirming listener understanding), and opportunities to practice. The results highlight the importance of supporting multilingual speakers’ efforts to improve their English intelligibility. An environment with barriers such as lack of opportunity to practise English may restrict an individuals’ performance and participation, while facilitators such as support from others may increase participation. This study will inform the understanding of speech-language pathologists engaged in intelligibility enhancement, as well as SLPs working with multilingual speakers in any context.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSpeech, Language and Hearing
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2019

Fingerprint

Motivation
Language
participation
lack
language
International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health
career aspiration
Aptitude
self awareness
WHO
listener
Software
disability
Interviews
Students
staff
university
ability
interview
health

Cite this

@article{9bef51698aa84e3fb2410343db021ff2,
title = "Exploring multilingual speakers’ perspectives on their intelligibility in English",
abstract = "Multilingual speakers’ ability to communicate effectively and intelligibly in the language of their country of residence is crucial to their participation. This study explored multilingual speakers’ motivations for improving their intelligibility in English and their perceptions of potential barriers and facilitators to enhancing intelligibility. Participants were multilingual students and staff at 14 Australian universities. Extended response data from 137 survey responses were combined with seven semi-structured interviews, thematically analyzed using the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health as a conceptual framework, and coded using NVivo software. Three overarching themes were: motivations, barriers, and facilitators. Themes that emerged under motivations were meeting their own and others’ expectations and career aspirations. Themes that emerged under barriers to intelligibility were lack of self-awareness of reduced English intelligibility, use of ineffective strategies (e.g., fast speech rate to disguise pronunciation difficulties), language differences, lack of opportunity to practise English, participants’ perceptions of others’ negative attitudes to their English skills, and challenging conversational partners. Facilitators to intelligibility were emotional support from others, beneficial strategies (e.g., confirming listener understanding), and opportunities to practice. The results highlight the importance of supporting multilingual speakers’ efforts to improve their English intelligibility. An environment with barriers such as lack of opportunity to practise English may restrict an individuals’ performance and participation, while facilitators such as support from others may increase participation. This study will inform the understanding of speech-language pathologists engaged in intelligibility enhancement, as well as SLPs working with multilingual speakers in any context.",
keywords = "accent modification, English proficiency, ICF, Intelligibility Enhancement, multilingual, participation, qualitative analysis, university students",
author = "Blake, {Helen L.} and Sarah Verdon and Sharynne McLeod",
year = "2019",
month = "1",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1080/2050571X.2019.1585681",
language = "English",
journal = "Asia Pacific Journal of Speech Language and Hearing",
issn = "1361-3286",
publisher = "Taylor & Francis",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Exploring multilingual speakers’ perspectives on their intelligibility in English

AU - Blake, Helen L.

AU - Verdon, Sarah

AU - McLeod, Sharynne

PY - 2019/1/1

Y1 - 2019/1/1

N2 - Multilingual speakers’ ability to communicate effectively and intelligibly in the language of their country of residence is crucial to their participation. This study explored multilingual speakers’ motivations for improving their intelligibility in English and their perceptions of potential barriers and facilitators to enhancing intelligibility. Participants were multilingual students and staff at 14 Australian universities. Extended response data from 137 survey responses were combined with seven semi-structured interviews, thematically analyzed using the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health as a conceptual framework, and coded using NVivo software. Three overarching themes were: motivations, barriers, and facilitators. Themes that emerged under motivations were meeting their own and others’ expectations and career aspirations. Themes that emerged under barriers to intelligibility were lack of self-awareness of reduced English intelligibility, use of ineffective strategies (e.g., fast speech rate to disguise pronunciation difficulties), language differences, lack of opportunity to practise English, participants’ perceptions of others’ negative attitudes to their English skills, and challenging conversational partners. Facilitators to intelligibility were emotional support from others, beneficial strategies (e.g., confirming listener understanding), and opportunities to practice. The results highlight the importance of supporting multilingual speakers’ efforts to improve their English intelligibility. An environment with barriers such as lack of opportunity to practise English may restrict an individuals’ performance and participation, while facilitators such as support from others may increase participation. This study will inform the understanding of speech-language pathologists engaged in intelligibility enhancement, as well as SLPs working with multilingual speakers in any context.

AB - Multilingual speakers’ ability to communicate effectively and intelligibly in the language of their country of residence is crucial to their participation. This study explored multilingual speakers’ motivations for improving their intelligibility in English and their perceptions of potential barriers and facilitators to enhancing intelligibility. Participants were multilingual students and staff at 14 Australian universities. Extended response data from 137 survey responses were combined with seven semi-structured interviews, thematically analyzed using the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health as a conceptual framework, and coded using NVivo software. Three overarching themes were: motivations, barriers, and facilitators. Themes that emerged under motivations were meeting their own and others’ expectations and career aspirations. Themes that emerged under barriers to intelligibility were lack of self-awareness of reduced English intelligibility, use of ineffective strategies (e.g., fast speech rate to disguise pronunciation difficulties), language differences, lack of opportunity to practise English, participants’ perceptions of others’ negative attitudes to their English skills, and challenging conversational partners. Facilitators to intelligibility were emotional support from others, beneficial strategies (e.g., confirming listener understanding), and opportunities to practice. The results highlight the importance of supporting multilingual speakers’ efforts to improve their English intelligibility. An environment with barriers such as lack of opportunity to practise English may restrict an individuals’ performance and participation, while facilitators such as support from others may increase participation. This study will inform the understanding of speech-language pathologists engaged in intelligibility enhancement, as well as SLPs working with multilingual speakers in any context.

KW - accent modification

KW - English proficiency

KW - ICF

KW - Intelligibility Enhancement

KW - multilingual

KW - participation

KW - qualitative analysis

KW - university students

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85062368573&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85062368573&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1080/2050571X.2019.1585681

DO - 10.1080/2050571X.2019.1585681

M3 - Article

JO - Asia Pacific Journal of Speech Language and Hearing

JF - Asia Pacific Journal of Speech Language and Hearing

SN - 1361-3286

ER -