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LINGUIST List 20.67

Wed Jan 07 2009

Support: English & General Ling: PhD Student, University of East Anglia

Editor for this issue: Luiza Newlin Lukowicz <luizalinguistlist.org>

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        1.    Gillian Potter, English & General Linguistics: PhD Student, University of East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom

Message 1: English & General Linguistics: PhD Student, University of East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom
Date: 07-Jan-2009
From: Gillian Potter <foh.pgruea.ac.uk>
Subject: English & General Linguistics: PhD Student, University of East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom
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Institution/Organization: University of East Anglia
Department: School of Allied Health Professions
Web Address: http://www.uea.ac.uk/foh/PGR

Level: PhD

Duties: Research

Job Rank: PhD

Specialty Areas: General Linguistics

Required Language(s): English (eng)


The influence of L1 prosody on L2 intelligibility in health communication

Supervisors: Dr Christine Raschka, Dr Zoë Butterfint, Dr Jan McAllister

Project outline:
Much money and energy is currently being expended on improving the communication
skills of trainee medics and other health professionals. However, the number of
complaints in which communication features prominently continues to remain high
(Fitzpatrick 2005: 725). A number of these complaints relate to the perceived
unintelligibility of NHS staff for whom English is not their first language.
Although a non-native accent can sometimes interfere with intelligibility, most
second language research indicates that this does not necessarily act as a
communication barrier. Evidence suggest that prosodic errors affect
intelligibility far more than phonetic errors, i.e. errors in segmental
production (Munro et al.,1999; Raschka, Butterfint and Song, 2008).

The prosodic features of speech, such as stress placement and pitch variation
are used differently in different languages. For example, in English pitch
variation, in the form of intonation, is used to signal grammatical,
conversational, attitudinal, emotional, and relational information. In tonal
languages pitch variation is used to signal lexical contrasts, i.e. changes in
word meaning. Investigations of learners' second language productions with
comparable control data in the target language (English in this context), as
well as, a comparison of different learner language varieties are infrequent in
the literature.

Speech samples from both non-native speakers' first and second languages, plus
comparable target language data, will be analysed to examine prosodic variation.
The proposed research will examine (1) the extent to which prosodic features of
a first language influence interactions in a second language, and (2) the extent
to which this impacts on intelligibility.

This research will provide guidance for those teaching communication skills to
non-native speakers of English and will utilize standard methodologies from
acoustic phonetics and social sciences.

Candidates should have an interest in intercultural health communication,
knowledge of acoustic phonetics and should have experience in using Praat.

Fitzpatrick, M. (2005) Communication skills. British Journal of General
Practice, September, p 275.

Munro, M.J. and Derwing, T.M. (1999) Foreign accent, comprehensibility, and
intelligibility in the speech of second language learners. Language Learning,
49(1), 285:310.

Raschka, C., Butterfint, Z., and Song, L. (2008) Intonation and Prosody as
markers of intercultural identity. Paper presented at 41st BAAL Symposium,
University of Swansea.

Rasier, L. and Hiligsmann, P. (2007) Prosodic transfer from L1 to L2.
Theoretical and methodological issues. Nouveaux Cahiers de Linguistique
Française, 28, 41-66.

Entry requirements:
Applicants should hold a 2:1 degree or above or a master's degree in science,
social science or health related subject or equivalent.

Those applicants whose first language is not English must demonstrate evidence
of appropriate English language proficiency, normally defined as a minimum IELTS
score of 7.5 (Overall Band Score) with 7.5 in all elements or equivalent.

Applications Deadline: 16-Feb-2009

Web Address for Applications: https://www.uea.ac.uk/foh/PGR

Contact Information:
        Dr Christine Raschka
        Phone:01603 593097

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