L1 listeners’ perception of L2 pronunciation: effect of prosody on accentedness ratings in Swedish
This paper reports on a study in which L1 speakers (n = 53) of Swedish rated the accentedness of read-aloud sentences produced by L2 speakers (n = 6) of Swedish. The aim of the study was to investigate the effect of certain prosodic features on the accentedness ratings. These features include Swedish tone accents and and deviant speech rhythm (e.g. lack of primary stress, and realization of multiple stresses). The results reveal that utterances with deviant speech rhythm yielded perceptions of stronger foreign accent than utterances with target-like rhythm. As for the tone accents, their effect on the scores were non-existent or only marginal. As missing tone accents have been previously found not to compromise intelligibility, the results of the present study reinforce the conclusion according to which emphasis in teaching should be put on prosodic features other than tone accents, especially rhythm.