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The Effectiveness of the Lingua Franca Core (LFC) in Improving the Perceived Intelligibility and Perceived Comprehensibility of Arab Learners at Post-Secondary Level

By Wafa Shahada Khalil Zoghbor

Abstract

The status of English as a lingua franca (ELF) has become an increasingly popular topic in Applied Linguistics. It has been suggested that the native speakers (NSs) and their pronunciation models have become relatively unimportant in international communication. This results in a lively discussion of which pronunciation model to use in classrooms (Dauer, 2005). Jenkins (2000) proposed the Lingua Franca Core (LFC): a list of features which she presumes to be the minimum required to result in intelligible communication among non-native speakers (NNSs) and should form the basis upon which the pronunciation syllabus of learners of English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) should be designed. The purpose of this study is to investigate the effectiveness of a pronunciation syllabus based on the LFC in improving the intelligibility and comprehensibility of Arab learners in comparison to learners of the traditional pronunciation syllabus (based on Received Pronunciation and/or General American). The potential effect of the syllabus was determined by implementing a quasi-experimental approach and semi-structured interviews within which the buzzer-technique was implemented. This research found that learners of the LFC syllabus scored relatively higher in comparison to the learners of the traditional pronunciation syllabus in terms of intelligibility and comprehensibility scores. The difference, however, between both groups remained insignificant. The degrees of intelligibility and comprehensibility were influenced by several factors. The interviewee's knowledge about the phonology of Arabic and exposure to non-native varieties facilitated intelligibility and comprehensibility. Negative attitudes towards certain phonological features, in most instances, did not impede intelligibility and/or comprehensibility. The research also gives support to most of the core features in the LFC except the rhotic /r/, quality of the long vowel /ɜː/, and word stress in words of more than two syllables. While this research implies the need to modify the LFC pronunciation syllabus based on the Arab learners’ phonology, further research is still required to investigate the pronunciation syllabus needs for learners in other contexts

Publisher: University of Leicester
Year: 2011
OAI identifier: oai:lra.le.ac.uk:2381/9635

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