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Volume 16 Number 3, Autumn 2019, Pages 768-1068 PDF Download

Shadowing: For Better Understanding Accented Englishes

    Yo Hamada

English has been used as a Lingua Franca (ELF) in communication among English speakers, both NSs and NNSs. However, people occasionally face difficulty when communicating among NNSs and NNSs because of the speakers' accents that originate from their first language. For smoother communication, speakers should speak English with comprehensible pronunciation, while listeners should understand accented English. Perceptual adaptation has been studied mainly in L1 contexts, in terms of NSs' adaptation to unfamiliar English accents and English with foreign accents. Still, little research exists on the topic of NNSs and perceptual adaptation. The question is whether NNSs should only be exposed to accented English as NSs are, or whether another useful type of instruction should be developed. Given these, this study took a first step to explore a way to help English learners adapt to unfamiliar accented English in classroom. This study examined which is more effective for Japanese students' perceptual adaptation—listening to an unfamiliar foreign accent (Chinese), or shadowing. The shadowing group engaged in a shadowing conversation between two Chinese speakers speaking English, while the listening group only listened. Four lessons of 15 minutes each were given. The results showed that the shadowing group outperformed the listening group.

Keywords: shadowing, perceptual adaptation, listening, accented English, ELF