An Investigation of Intelligibility and Lingua Franca Core Features in Indonesian Accented English

  • Abdi Rahmat Syam

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Recent approaches to teaching pronunciation of English in second or foreign language contexts
have favoured the role of students’ L1 accents in the teaching and learning process with the
emphasis on intelligibility and the use of English as a Lingua Franca rather than on achieving
native like pronunciation. As far as English teaching in Indonesia is concerned, there is limited
information on the intelligibility of Indonesian Accented English, as well as insufficient
guidance on key pronunciation features for effective teaching. This research investigates features
of Indonesian Accented English and critically assesses the intelligibility of different levels of
Indonesian Accented English.
English Speech data were elicited from 50 Indonesian speakers using reading texts. Key
phonological features of Indonesian Accented English were investigated through acoustic
analysis involving spectrographic observation using Praat Speech Analysis software. The
intelligibility of different levels of Indonesian Accented English was measured using a
transcription task performed by 24 native and non-native English listeners. The overall
intelligibility of each accent was measured by examining the correctness of the transcriptions.
The key pronunciation features which caused intelligibility failure were identified by analysing
the incorrect transcriptions.
The analysis of the key phonological features of Indonesian Accented English showed that while
there was some degree of regularity in the production of vowel duration and consonant clusters,
more individual variations were observed in segmental features particularly in the production of
consonants /v, z, ʃ/ which are absent in the Indonesian phonemic inventory. The results of the
intelligibility analysis revealed that although light and moderate accented speech data were
significantly more intelligible than the heavier accented speech data, the native and non-native
listeners did not have major problems with the intelligibility of Indonesian Accented English
across the different accent levels. The analysis of incorrect transcriptions suggested that
intelligibility failures were associated more with combined phonological miscues rather than a
single factor. These results indicate that while Indonesian Accented English can be used
effectively in international communication, it can also inform English language teaching in
Date of Award2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Coventry University
SupervisorSheena Gardner (Supervisor) & Michael Cribb (Supervisor)

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