Volume 8, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2215-1931
  • E-ISSN: 2215-194X
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



Motivated by a proposed administrative practice that would have discriminated against non-native English speaking (NNES) teachers, this study described an extensive phonological analysis on speech samples from ten certified Arizona teachers to investigate linguistic features that differentiate native English speaking (NES) teachers from NNES teachers. In addition, educational stakeholders ( = 141) impressionistically evaluated the speech samples for comprehensibility, accentedness, and perceived teaching suitability. Phonological features were used to predict listeners’ ratings on these three constructs. Multiple phonological features were found to predict comprehensibility, accentedness, and perceived teaching suitability, but each construct was predicted by a unique set of features. Lastly, stakeholders’ evaluations of NES and NNES teachers were analyzed. Despite individual variability in many of the features of NNES and NES teachers’ speech, educational stakeholders rated NNES teachers as more accented, less comprehensible, and less suited to teach.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Anderson-Hsieh, J. & Koehler, K.
    (1988) The effect of foreign accent and speaking rate on native speaker comprehension. Language Learning, 38(4): 561–613. 10.1111/j.1467‑1770.1988.tb00167.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-1770.1988.tb00167.x [Google Scholar]
  2. Anderson-Hsieh, J. & Venkatagiri, H.
    (1994) Syllable duration and pausing in the speech of intermediate and high proficiency Chinese ESL speakers. TESOL Quarterly, 28, 807–812. 10.2307/3587566
    https://doi.org/10.2307/3587566 [Google Scholar]
  3. Arizona Department of Education
    Arizona Department of Education (2013) Arizona College and Career Ready Standards – English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects. Retrieved fromwww.azed.gov/azccrs/
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Avery, P. & Ehrlich, S.
    (2008) Teaching American English pronunciation. China: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  5. Blum, A. & Johnson, E.
    (2012) Reading repression: Textualizing the linguistic marginalization of non-native English-speaking teachers in Arizona. Journal of Language, Identity, and Education. 11(3), 167–184. 10.1080/15348458.2012.686379
    https://doi.org/10.1080/15348458.2012.686379 [Google Scholar]
  6. Boyd, S.
    (2003) Foreign-born teachers in the multilingual classroom in Sweden: The role of attitudes to foreign accent. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 6(3–4), 283–295. 10.1080/13670050308667786
    https://doi.org/10.1080/13670050308667786 [Google Scholar]
  7. Comrey, A. L., & Lee, H. B.
    (1992) A first course in factor analysis (2nd ed.). Hillsdale, NJ, England: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Derwing, T. M.
    (2017) What do we know about comprehensibility?Retrieved29 July, 2019fromwww.pronunciationforteachers.com/uploads/6/0/5/9/60596853/key_concepts_comprehensibility_tderwing.pdf
  9. Derwing, T., Frazer, H., Kang, O., & Thompson, R.
    (2014) Accent and ethics: Issues that merit attention. InA. Mahboob and L. Barratt (Eds.), English in a multilingual context: Language Variation and Education (pp. 63–80). Dordrecht: Springer. 10.1007/978‑94‑017‑8869‑4_5
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-017-8869-4_5 [Google Scholar]
  10. Derwing, T. & Munro, M. J.
    (1997) Accent, intelligibility and comprehensibility: Evidence from four L1s. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 20, 1–16. 10.1017/S0272263197001010
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0272263197001010 [Google Scholar]
  11. Gándara, P. & Orfield, G.
    (2012) Why Arizona matters: The historical, legal, and political contexts of Arizona’s instructional policies and U.S. linguistic hegemony. Language Policy, 11, 7–19.   10.1007/s10993‑011‑9227‑2
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s10993-011-9227-2 [Google Scholar]
  12. Hanna, J. M.
    (2012) Firing of FedEx driver for foreign accent highlights ongoing issues. Minority Trial Lawyer, 11(1), 23–24.
    [Google Scholar]
  13. Iredell-Statesville Schools
    Iredell-Statesville Schools. Academic Vocabulary 2014 Accessed18 December, 2014fromiss.schoolwires.com/Page/38305
    [Google Scholar]
  14. Jin, T., & Mak, B.
    (2013) Distinguishing features in scoring L2 Chinese speaking performance: How do they work?. Language Testing, 30(1), 23–47.   10.1177/0265532212442637
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0265532212442637 [Google Scholar]
  15. Jordan, M.
    (2010, April30). Arizona grades teachers on fluency. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved fromonline.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052748703572504575213883276427528
    [Google Scholar]
  16. Kaiser, H. F.
    (1974) An index of factorial simplicity. Psychometrika, 39, 31–36. 10.1007/BF02291575
    https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02291575 [Google Scholar]
  17. Kang, O.
    (2010) Relative salience of suprasegmental features on judgments of L2 comprehensibility and accentedness. System, 38(2), 301–315. 10.1016/j.system.2010.01.005
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.system.2010.01.005 [Google Scholar]
  18. Kang, O., Thomson, R., & Moran, M.
    (2018) Exploring the intelligibility of a variety of native and nonnative English accents. Applied Linguistics.   10.1093/applin/amy053
    https://doi.org/10.1093/applin/amy053 [Google Scholar]
  19. Kormos, J., & Denes, M.
    (2004) Exploring measures and perceptions of fluency in the speech of second language learners. System, 32(2), 145–164. 10.1016/j.system.2004.01.001
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.system.2004.01.001 [Google Scholar]
  20. Kossan, P.
    (2011, September12). Teacher accent scrutiny halted to avoid lawsuit. The Arizona Republic. Retrieved fromwww.azcentral.com/12news/news/articles/2011/09/12/20110912arizona-teacher-accent-scrutiny-halted.html
    [Google Scholar]
  21. Moran, M.
    (2016) Arizona teachers’ speech: Phonological features and listener perceptions. [Unpublished doctoral dissertation.] Northern Arizona University.
  22. Munro, M. J. & Derwing, T. M.
    (1995) Processing time, accent, and comprehensibility in the perception of native and foreign-accented speech. Language and Speech, 38(3), 289–306. 10.1177/002383099503800305
    https://doi.org/10.1177/002383099503800305 [Google Scholar]
  23. Pickering, L.
    (2001) The role of tone choice in improving ITA communication in the classroom. TESOL Quarterly, 35(2), 233–255. 10.2307/3587647
    https://doi.org/10.2307/3587647 [Google Scholar]
  24. Quintana-Lara, M.
    (2014) Effect of acoustic spectrographic instruction on production of English /i/ and /I/ by Spanish pre-service English teachers. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 27(3), 207–227. 10.1080/09588221.2012.724424
    https://doi.org/10.1080/09588221.2012.724424 [Google Scholar]
  25. Ray, G., & Zahn, C.
    (1999) Language attitudes and speech behavior. Journal of Language & Social Psychology, 18(3), 310. 10.1177/0261927X99018003005
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0261927X99018003005 [Google Scholar]
  26. Trofimovich, P., & Isaacs, T.
    (2012) Disentangling accent from comprehensibility. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 15(4), 905–916. 10.1017/S1366728912000168
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S1366728912000168 [Google Scholar]
  27. U.S. Department of Education
    U.S. Department of Education. (15September 2004) Subpart 1 – Grants and Subgrants for English Language Acquisition and Subpart 1: Grants and Subgrants for English Language Acquisition and Language Enhancement. Accessed21 October, 2014fromwww2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/esea02/pg41.html
    [Google Scholar]
  28. Wennerstrom, A.
    (2000) The role of intonation in second language fluency. InRiggenbach, H. (Ed.), Perspectives on Fluency (pp.102–127). Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  29. WIDA Consortium World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment
    WIDA Consortium World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment (2007) English Language Proficiency Standards and Resource Guide: 1–74
    [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error