Native Speaker Judgements as Indicators of L2 Oral Proficiency: Redefining the Role of the Native Speaker in Proficiency Guidelines

Norris, John M.
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The current study attempted to clarify the predictive validity ofthe evaluative interlocutor role assigned to native speakers within the ACTFL Guidelines and, more generally, to provide evidence regarding how a rather homogenous group ofnative speakersjudged non-native efforts at communication. The fundamental issue ofinterest to the study was whether or not native speakers of German would agree with each other in rating non-native speech taken from a test based on the AcrFL Guidelines. The aspects of NNS production chosen for rating were a broad range of linguistic characteristics that figure prominently in the ACTFL Guidelines proficiency level descriptors: grammar, pronunciation, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehensibility. In order to further elucidate the extent to which native speakers act in the role assigned to them by the ACTFL Guidelines, their impressionistic reactions to non-native speech were sought through a set ofopenended questions.
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