The Influence of Short-Term L2 Study Abroad or Home Campus Experience on Speech Intelligibility of Varying Rates in Spanish
Second language (L2) listening is often critical in effective communication, but it is a skill that may be challenged by a number of factors, such as L2 proficiency level, learning environment, and input speech rate. In this preliminary, four-week empirical study, the intelligibility of word-level speech delivered at different rates (normal, moderately fast, and very fast) was examined among adult learners studying Spanish either on their home campus or abroad during a summer mini-semester. A repeated measures ANOVA revealed a significant improvement in decoding speech after four weeks and decreased speech intelligibility as rate increased, but no statistical difference between learning environment groups (i.e., home campus vs. study abroad). An ANCOVA partialling out Spanish oral proficiency as a covariate showed that proficiency surfaced as a mediating variable helping to explain the pre to post gains. Directions for future research will be discussed.
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