English, 2013 curriculum - Free topic 16: Intelligibility of Englishes

Course content

It is generally accepted among linguistic scholars that one of the most important criteria for assessing spoken interaction between non-native or native speakers is that of “mutual intelligibility”. A common goal in English language teaching (ELT) today is for students to achieve  “comfortable intelligibility” rather than native-like pronunciation; and in discussions of World Englishes the idea that intelligibility is closely linked to British or American standard has also been challenged.

While it is now generally recognised that overall intelligibility depends on many linguistics factors including grammar and vocabulary, this course will focus on the influence of pronunciation on intelligibility. What characterises an intelligible accent and what may make speech less intelligible? These questions will be discussed in relation to teaching English as a foreign language (EFL) and World Englishes, and we will examine how different definitions of “intelligibility” may lead to different conclusions about the influence of “foreign accent” on intelligibility.

There will be a particular emphasis on empirical research methods, and the course will thus be a good preparation for students’ own empirical projects, including the Master’s thesis.

Classes, with particular emphasis on reading primary and secondary texts, oral discussion and developing proficiency in English.

Most of the reading will be in the form of research articles.

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Criteria for exam assessment


  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 28
  • Preparation
  • 176,75
  • English
  • 204,75