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Accent, Intelligibility, and the Role of the Listener: Perceptions of English-Accented German by Native German Speakers



We explore the relationship between accentedness and intelligibility, and investigate how listeners’ beliefs about nonnative speech interact with their accentedness and intelligibility judgments. Native German speakers and native English learners of German produced German sentences, which were presented to 12 native German speakers in accentedness judgment and intelligibility tasks. Accentedness and intelligibility were correlated when all talkers were considered together; however, the correlation was not significant for the English-accented speech alone. Native German listeners also completed a questionnaire concerning their beliefs about the roles of different factors in determining native-likeness. Analyses revealed that the different beliefs of listeners do not necessarily lead to different judgments of nonnative speech. However, the qualitative data pointed to considerable variance in the native German listeners’ assessment of second language pronunciation.