Linguistic variables of Comprehensibility, Accentedness and Fluency in L2 Spanish: Listener type and ability level differences




comprensibilidad, acento extranjero, fluidez, español como L2, jueces, grados de desempeño


The aim of this study is to identify which linguistic variables are most strongly related to comprehensibility, accentedness and fluency in Spanish as L2, and how the results may also vary according to the type of listener (expert or non-expert) and to the speakers’ level of ability in these three dimensions. To this end, 40 native English speakers of Spanish orally described picture narratives that were subsequently rated by four groups of raters using 9-point Likert scales. The first two groups were composed of 109 novice and 42 expert raters assessing comprehensibility, accentedness and fluency. The last two groups consisted of 35 phoneticians and 35 linguistic raters responsible for analyzing and scoring a total of 14 speech measures (7 per group) targeting pronunciation, disfluencies, lexis, grammar and discourse. The results reveal that comprehensibility is associated with a wide range of elements, while accentedness is determined especially by segmentals, and fluency by speech rate. Additionally, the impact of linguistic parameters varies according to the speakers’ level of performance, and there are differences between novice and expert raters, with the former being more affected by pronunciation and the experts by lexis and grammar.


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How to Cite

Santamaría Busto, E. . (2020). Linguistic variables of Comprehensibility, Accentedness and Fluency in L2 Spanish: Listener type and ability level differences. Loquens, 7(2), e075.