Journal of Psycholinguistic Research

, Volume 44, Issue 6, pp 749–773 | Cite as

Acoustic Analyses and Intelligibility Assessments of Timing Patterns Among Chinese English Learners with Different Dialect Backgrounds

  • Hsueh Chu ChenEmail author


This paper includes two interrelated studies. The first production study investigates the timing patterns of English as spoken by Chinese learners with different dialect backgrounds. The second comprehension study explores native and non-native speakers’ assessments of the intelligibility of Chinese-accented English, and examines the effects of the listeners’ language backgrounds on their perceptions of Chinese-accented English. The results showed that the Hong Kong (HK) group performed better in unstressed syllable duration compared with the Taiwan (TW) and Beijing (BJ) groups. The results also revealed that all six listener groups achieved at least 78 % intelligibility, with the native speaker accent achieving the highest rating, followed by the HK, TW, and BJ accents. A shared first language (L1) background may have little or no impact on intelligibility. The speech properties might prevail over the shared L1 effect. All listeners perceived inappropriate word-stress shift and consonant cluster simplifications to be the most unintelligible features.


Intelligibility Foreign accent Production Perception Inter-language phonology 



This work was supported by the Internal Research Grant of the Hong Kong Institute of Education.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Linguistics and Modern Language StudiesThe Hong Kong Institute of EducationTaipoHong Kong

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