Listening General Research-Oriented Presentation
Masks’ impact on listening communication in the L2 context
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the wearing of face masks during all interpersonal contact has become our “new normal.” Though an indispensable part of our daily outings, it is indisputable that masks impede verbal communication by both muffling speech sounds and blocking visual cues (e.g., facial expressions, emotional information) from view. While this impediment might only be minor for people conversing in their first language, the current study sought to investigate the impact that masked speech had on language learners’ comprehension of a second language. A sample of 192 Japanese university students were given a listening task under three conditions: masked speaker, unmasked speaker, and audio only. Results indicated that learners had significantly more difficulty comprehending the speech when viewing a masked speaker, even more so than when they were just listening to voice recording (i.e., with no accompanying picture). We will discuss with attendees current theories of speech perception and listening comprehension which may explain these findings, as well as ideas on how to counteract this effect to communicate more effectively in the classroom while masked.
Bradford J. Lee (ORCID ID 0000-0001-9833-5631) holds an Ed.D. in TESOL from Anaheim University, a M.A. in Applied Linguistics from the University of Newcastle, and a B.A. in Linguistics from the University of Hawaii. He is currently an Associate Professor in the Organization for Fundamental Education at Fukui University of Technology. His main research areas include phonology/pronunciation instruction, noticing/perception-based instruction, and smartphone-based writing.
Edwin Hart (ORCID ID 0000-0001-6009-545X) received his B.A. in East Asian Languages and Cultures Studies from Rutgers University. Having lived in six different countries, language and culture studies continue to spark his various study and research interests. He currently teaches as an Assistant Professor in the Organization for Fundamental Education at Fukui University of Technology.