Nagle, Charles

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The Effect of Speaker Proficiency on Intelligibility, Comprehensibility, and Accentedness in L2 Spanish: A Conceptual Replication and Extension of Munro and Derwing (1995a)

2021-03-30 , Huensch, Amanda , Nagle, Charles , World Languages and Cultures

This work was funded by a University of South Florida Creative Scholarship Grant and by a University of South Florida Nexus Initiative Award to the first author and by an Iowa State University Social Sciences Seed Grant to the second author. We would like to thank the participants and our research assistants, especially Aneesa Ali and Bianca Pinkerton. We would also like to thank Joseph Casillas for his help with some of the statistical analyses reported in this paper.

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Revisiting Perception–Production Relationships: Exploring a New Approach to Investigate Perception as a Time‐Varying Predictor

2020-09-09 , Nagle, Charles , Nagle, Charles , World Languages and Cultures

Models of L2 pronunciation learning hypothesize that accurate speech perception promotes accurate speech production. This claim can be evaluated longitudinally by examining the extent to which changes in stop consonant perception predict changes in stop consonant production. Taking a time-sensitive view of the perception-production link, this study used longitudinal data to analyze perception as a time-varying predictor of production accuracy. Mixed-effects models were fit to oddity, delayed word repetition, and picture description tasks to examine how participants’ perception and production changed over time. Oddity task perception data were then decomposed into their between- and within-subjects components and integrated into the delayed repetition and picture description production models. Surprisingly, only the between-subjects predictors reached significance, and the strength of the perception-production link varied across production tasks and target phones. The methods used have implications for future research on the perception-production link.

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Exploring Behavioral and Affective Correlates of Comprehensible Second Language Speech

2021-03-23 , Nagle, Charles , Trofimovich, Pavel , Nagle, Charles , O’Brien, Mary , Kennedy, Sara , World Languages and Cultures

Comprehensibility, or ease of understanding, has emerged as an important construct in second language (L2) speech research. Many studies have examined the linguistic features that underlie this construct, but there has been limited work on behavioral and affective predictors. The goal of this study was therefore to examine the extent to which anxiety and collaborativeness predict interlocutors’ perception of one another’s comprehensibility. Twenty dyads of L2 English speakers completed three interactive tasks. Throughout their 17-minute interaction, they were periodically asked to evaluate their own and each other’s anxiety and collaborativeness and to rate their partner’s comprehensibility using 100-point scales. Mixed-effects models showed that partner anxiety and collaborativeness predicted comprehensibility, but the relative importance of each predictor depended on the nature of the task. Self-collaborativeness was also related to comprehensibility. These findings suggest that comprehensibility is sensitive to a range of linguistic, behavioral, and affective influences.

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Second language comprehensibility as a dynamic construct

2020-07-08 , Trofimovich, Pavel , Nagle, Charles , Nagle, Charles , O'Brien, Mary , Kennedy, Sara , Reid, Kym Taylor , Strachan, Lauren , World Languages and Cultures

This study examined longitudinal changes in second language (L2) interlocutors’ mutual comprehensibility ratings (perceived ease of understanding speech), targeting comprehensibility as a dynamic, time-varying, inter action-centered construct. In a repeated-measures, within-participants design, 20 pairs of L2 English university students from different language backgrounds engaged in three collaborative and interactive tasks over 17 minutes, rating their partner’s comprehensibility at 2–3 minute intervals using 100-millimeter scales (seven ratings per interlocutor). Mutual comprehensibility ratings followed a U-shaped function over time, with comprehensibility (initially perceived to be high) being affected by task complexity but then reaching high levels by the end of the interaction. The interlocutors’ ratings also became more similar to each other early on and remained aligned throughout the interaction. These findings demonstrate the dynamic nature of comprehensibility between L2 interlocutors and suggest the need for L2 comprehensibility research to account for the effects of interaction, task, and time on comprehensibility measurements.

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Spanish teachers’ beliefs on the usefulness of pronunciation knowledge, skills, and activities and their confidence in implementing them

2020-09-22 , Nagle, Charles , Sachs, Rebecca , Zarate-Sandez, German , World Languages and Cultures

Despite substantial advances in the field of instructed second language acquisition (SLA) with regard to our understanding of second language (L2) pronunciation development and pedagogy, many language instructors continue to report a lack of confidence in incorporating pronunciation instruction (PI) into their classes. This survey study examined 100 Spanish instructors’ perceptions of the usefulness of various types of knowledge, skills, and approaches to PI, as well as their confidence in those domains, and the extent to which their previous training in teaching methods was related to their ratings of usefulness and confidence. After running principal components analyses to identify factors in the survey data, we fit mixed-effects models to each factor, then delved more deeply into some descriptive trends to offer recommendations for professional development opportunities. The latter results suggested that Spanish teachers might have greater appreciation for, as well as confidence in, focusing on segmentals over suprasegmentals, practice activities over assessment, perception assessment over production assessment, and implicit over explicit feedback. Consistent with previous research, some of the highest confidence levels were expressed regarding controlled techniques, alongside relatively low confidence in familiarity with research. Concerning metalinguistic tools, respondents seemed to value diagrams and descriptions over terminology and transcription, but they viewed these tools as less useful than perception, production, and communication practice. While greater training was often associated with higher perceptions of usefulness and confidence, there were cases where respondents with the least training showed the highest confidence. These results suggest some key priorities for teacher training.

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Expanding the scope of L2 intelligibility research

2020-07-07 , Nagle, Charles , Huensch, Amanda , Nagle, Charles , World Languages and Cultures

This study investigated relationships among intelligibility, comprehensibility, and accentedness in the speech of L2 learners of Spanish who completed a prompted response speaking task. Thirty native Spanish listeners from Spain were recruited through Amazon Mechanical Turk to transcribe and rate extracted utterances, which were also coded for grammatical and phonemic errors, and speaking rate. Descriptively, although most utterances were intelligible, their comprehensibility and accentedness varied substantially. Mixed-effects modeling showed that comprehensibility was significantly associated with intelligibility whereas accentedness was not. Additionally, phonemic and grammatical errors were significant predictors of intelligibility and comprehensibility, but only phonemic errors were significantly related to accentedness. Overall, phonemic errors displayed a stronger negative association with the listener-based dimensions than grammatical errors. These findings suggest that English-speaking learners of Spanish are not as uniformly intelligible and comprehensible as FL instructors might believe and shed light on relationships among speech constructs in an L2 other than English.