The Korean Association for the Study of English Language and Linguistics

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Korean Journal of English Language and Linguistics - Vol. 21

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Korea Journal of English Language and Linguistics - Vol. 21, No. 0, pp.818-836
Abbreviation: KASELL
ISSN: 1598-1398 (Print) 2586-7474 (Online)
Received 18 Jul 2021 Revised 20 Sep 2021 Accepted 25 Sep 2021

Differential Contribution of English Suprasegmentals to L2 Foreign-Accentedness and Speech Comprehensibility: Implications for T eaching EFL Pronunciation, Speaking, and Listening
In Young Yang
Assistant Professor, Dept. of English Education, Catholic Kwandong University, Tel: 033) 649-7762 (

© 2021 KASELL All rights reserved
This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons License, which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This study investigated how English suprasegmentals contribute to two aspects of pronunciation proficiency—comprehensibility and foreign-accentedness. Further, it discussed their implications for teaching English as a foreign language. The read speech of 35 volunteers, who were second language (L2) English speakers in Korea, was analyzed in terms of the following seven variables concerning English suprasegmentals: the number of pauses, total duration of pauses, articulation rate, mean length of run, pitch range, prominence frequency, and sentence stress appropriacy. The results of a multiple regression analysis showed that the number of pauses, the sentence stress appropriacy, and the articulation rate were significant predictors of L2 speech comprehensibility. Speech rate factors and prominence frequency were the strongest predictors of foreign-accentedness. In addition, these results suggest that better understanding in communicative contexts requires teaching learners about the placement of sentence stress without overemphasizing the mere rhythmic pattern of spoken English. The discussion explains how discourse-level pronunciation practice and information structures can be integrated into L2 speaking and listening to improve student benefits.

Keywords: L2 pronunciation, foreign-accentedness, comprehensibility, English prosody, sentence stress


This study reports a part of the author’s unpublished doctoral dissertation

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