The Acoustic Intelligibility of Consonants in Saudi Spoken English
This study presents an instrumental phonetic account of the intelligibility of Saudi Spoken English (SSE) consonants. Few studies have investigated the spoken consonants of highly proficient EFL teachers in Saudi Arabia. This research informs on how intelligible SSE consonants are perceived by General American English (GAE) listeners using the Koffi (2021) intelligibility framework. Traditionally, intelligibility has been measured by having listeners transcribe speakers’ utterances. How well the speech is transcribed demonstrates a certain level of intelligibility. Koffi (2021) has proposed an acoustic approach to measuring consonant intelligibility using acoustic thresholds of Just Noticeable Differences (JND) combined with considerations for Relative Functional Load (RFL). An analysis of 23 segments spoken by 32 Saudi EFL teachers using acoustic correlates for intensity, duration, F2, and F3 inform the results. The quantitative results based on 1,280 tokens suggest that Saudi speakers of English are perceived as intelligible by GAE listeners when specifically analyzing their consonant production. Missing L1 segments [p] and [g], and substituting segments [f] for [v] does not impact intelligibility. Only the female participants did not distinguish their [ɹ] from [l]. Findings confirm that Saudi teachers of English can be intelligible in the segmental production of consonants.
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