The effect of Danish, Dutch and British accented English on intelligibility, comprehensibility and speaker evaluation of Danish and Dutch listeners.

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The increasing use of English as a lingua franca has led to a range of studies looking at the effect of speaking with an accent in English on native and non-native listeners. However, most of these studies have included either native participants or participants from countries with large differences in the listeners’ English proficiency. The purpose of the current study was to look at the effect of native and non-native accented English on listeners from two of the most proficient non-native countries. In a mix of a verbal and matched guise between subject factor experiment, 102 Danish and 102 Dutch listeners evaluated a moderate Danish, a moderate Dutch or a British accented speech. The results showed that the Danish and Dutch listeners did not overall find the moderate non-native accents in English harder to understand than the native accent. Moreover, the listeners did only evaluate the native accented speaker more competent than the moderate accented speakers. The Danish accented speaker was perceived most likeable. Finally, the Dutch listeners evaluated all speakers higher on dynamism than the Danish listeners. These results indicate that the effects of speaking with an accent on intelligibility, comprehensibility and speaker evaluation decrease when non-native listeners reach a certain level of English proficiency. How-ever, it is still advisable for managers to try reaching a native accent in English, in order to be perceived as more competent by a non-native audience.
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