The use of nonword keywords in the speech assessment of English second language learners

06 Aug 2019

Use of nonwords is a potentially more appropriate method of assessment for English second language (EL2) learners. A mixed comparative design was used to compare the effects when using nonwords instead of picture-based stimuli to assess articulation of EL2 learners. Subaims were to compare results between two tests and age groups. In all, 16 Setswana L1 children assigned to two age cohorts were assessed using the Goldman-Fristoe Test of Articulation–second edition (GFTA-2), and nonword list was created via a registered Speech Motor Learning website. Results of the two assessments differed significantly, indicating that lack of semantic information may yield different outcomes for articulation assessments of EL2 learners. Speech sound differences on the GFTA-2 were sounds not found in L1. This agrees with previous research indicating incorrect diagnosis due to speech and language differences. There was no significant difference between the two age cohorts. This research forms the basis for investigations into nonwords as a more accurate method for assessment of EL2 learners.