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Ife Studies in English Language - Abstract

Title

INTERNATIONAL INTELLIGIBILITY IN WORLD ENGLISHES: THE SCHWA IN GHANAIAN ENGLISH

Authors

Charlotte FoFo Lomotey, Department of Applied Linguistics, University of Education, Winneba, Ghana

Published

© Ife Studies in English Language Vol. 12 (1) 2016, pp. 32-48

Language

English

Abstract:

Although research findings suggest that most L2 English speakers, including Ghanaians, produce full vowels where reduced vowels might be expected, there is little knowledge about the effect this phenomenon has on intelligibility in English as an international language. This study investigates the intelligibility of Ghanaian English pronunciation, especially the (non)production of reduced vowels on other speakers of English. To achieve this, a production test with the North Wind and Sun passage by 10 Ghanaian university students and an intelligibility test by 25 English speakers representing the inner, outer, and expanding circles were conducted. Results revealed that the use of full (instead of reduced) vowels did not affect the way they perceived the words in the passage. Based on the findings, it is argued that while the avoidance of reduced vowels may contribute to syllable-timed rhythm, it actually enhances intelligibility than hinders it.

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