About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 5046-5057
Publication year: 2010
ISBN: 978-84-613-5538-9
ISSN: 2340-1079

Conference name: 4th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 8-10 March, 2010
Location: Valencia, Spain

THE EFFECT OF TALKER VARIABILITY ON COMPREHENSION OF FOREIGN-ACCENTED ENGLISH: A COGNITIVE LOAD THEORY APPROACH

Y. Gao, R. Low, J. Sweller, P. Jin

University of New South Wales (AUSTRALIA)
Using a cognitive load theory approach, this study was conducted to investigate the effects of training using multiple accents on perceiving foreign-accented English for EFL learners with different levels of expertise. Specifically, it explored the benefits of using multiple talkers during training compared to a single talker for Chinese EFL learners on perceptual learning of Indian-accented English. There were four training conditions for listeners with either high- or low- expertise levels of English language proficiency: 1. A low variability multiple-talker training condition in which the stimuli sentences produced by four Indian- accented speakers were presented in a fixed order; 2. A high variability multiple-talker training condition in which the four speakers were arranged to produce sentences in random order; 3. A talker-specific training condition in which the training and test talkers were the same; 4. A single talker training condition. The translation performance and cognitive load subjective rating scales were used to measure the differences between training conditions on post- tests with perception of English produced by a novel Indian-accented talker.

After three consecutive days of training, different effects were found depending on levels of expertise. For the high-expertise EFL learners, results showed better performance and lower cognitive load on post-tests using multiple-talker training conditions (condition1&2) relative to the single-talker training condition (condition4), especially after multiple- talker training with high variability (condition2). However, test performance following talker- specific training (condition3) was best of all when the test talker was the same as the training talker, demonstrating a strong schema specific effect. For the low-expertise EFL learners, however, their working memory was overloaded when learning to listen to multiple accents and therefore multiple accents had detrimental effects on the construction and automation of schemas. Performance following the single talker training (condition3&4) was significantly better than following multiple- talker training conditions (condition1&2). These results demonstrated an expertise-reversal effect indicating that multiple-talker training may facilitate perceptual learning of foreign-accented English for EFL learners; however, this result depended on learners’ English language proficiency.

@InProceedings{GAO2010THE,
author = {Gao, Y. and Low, R. and Sweller, J. and Jin, P.},
title = {THE EFFECT OF TALKER VARIABILITY ON COMPREHENSION OF FOREIGN-ACCENTED ENGLISH: A COGNITIVE LOAD THEORY APPROACH},
series = {4th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2010 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-613-5538-9},
issn = {2340-1079},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {8-10 March, 2010},
year = {2010},
pages = {5046-5057}}
TY - CONF
AU - Y. Gao AU - R. Low AU - J. Sweller AU - P. Jin
TI - THE EFFECT OF TALKER VARIABILITY ON COMPREHENSION OF FOREIGN-ACCENTED ENGLISH: A COGNITIVE LOAD THEORY APPROACH
SN - 978-84-613-5538-9/2340-1079
PY - 2010
Y1 - 8-10 March, 2010
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 4th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2010 Proceedings
SP - 5046
EP - 5057
ER -
Y. Gao, R. Low, J. Sweller, P. Jin (2010) THE EFFECT OF TALKER VARIABILITY ON COMPREHENSION OF FOREIGN-ACCENTED ENGLISH: A COGNITIVE LOAD THEORY APPROACH, INTED2010 Proceedings, pp. 5046-5057.
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