Intelligibility of Select World Englishes and the Factors Affecting It: The Case of High School ESL Learners

World Englishes, Intelligibility, Native Speakers, Non-native Speakers

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August 14, 2022

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With the significant upsurge of English language speakers in the world, it is easier to anticipate the chances of both native and non-native speakers communicating with each other. As a consequence, the question of the intelligibility of the different English varieties has become a significant area to be studied. Normally, most studies utilized participants who have an extensive background in the language, such as English majors, teachers, or natives of the English language, to investigate the intelligibility of World Englishes. However, in the Philippine setting, students across all grade levels also use English as their second official language. Stemming from the aforementioned, this paper projects to establish the research space by employing ESL senior high school students of Southern Mindanao to determine the intelligibility of American, Philippine, and Chinese Englishes and the factors that affect the intelligibility of these varieties. With a mixed method research design, the study found that Philippine English was relatively the most intelligible variety to the students. Moreover, the study further revealed that accent familiarity, pronunciation, speech rate, and linguistic environment are the factors that influence intelligibility. The findings of the study suggest that English language users should be keen on the factors that affect intelligibility to increase their awareness of the different varieties of English. It is also suggested that teachers should adopt a variety that is most beneficial for the users to achieve better intelligibility.