Online workshop on the concepts comprehensibility, intelligibility, accentedness

26.02.2021 09:30 - 12:00

We are organizing an online workshop on the concepts comprehensibility, intelligibility, accentedness (Munro & Derwing, 1995) and acceptability (Tulaja, 2020). The aim of the workshop is to discuss and define these concepts and their Nordic translations. We are hoping to create consistent definitions for these concepts in order to facilitate comparison of research results in the field, at least within this research network.

Research has shown that pronunciation in particular can affect how a second language (L2) speaker is perceived (Toivola, 2011). Earlier research has focused on three dimensions of pronunciation: comprehensibility, intelligibility and accentedness (see, Munro & Derwing, 2015). Comprehensibility describes how well the meaning of speech is understood, and intelligibility describes how difficult it is to understand speech. However, to succeed as an L2 speaker in the target language, social consequences also need to be taken into consideration (Tulaja, 2020). Native speakers’ assessments of L2 speakers describe not only whether the speaker is easy or difficult to understand (comprehensibility and intelligibility), but also social aspects, such as conforming to native norms, which may affect how these speakers are perceived (Thomson, 2018; Toivola, 2011). These social aspects constitute the fourth dimension of L2 pronunciation, acceptability (Tulaja, 2020), which can be described as the social consequences of non-normative pronunciation.

The workshop will be held on Friday February 26th at 9.30–12 Finnish time (EET) (8.30–11 Swedish/Norwegian/Danish) in Zoom. The link will be sent to registered participants a few days before the workshop. The workshop is organized in cooperation with LEALA (The Center for Language Learning Research at the University of Turku) and the theme network for speech and speech research in AFinLA (The Finnish association for applied linguistics).

Finnish participants will have the possibility of participating in defining and adding these terms to the Finnish Tieteen termipankki as authors.

Please register for the workshop through the link below by Friday February 19th:

If you have any questions, please contact us by e-mail (;; l..tulaja@).

Leena Maria Heikkola, Åbo Akademi University, Finland
Antti Saloranta, University of Turku, Finland
Lisa Tulaja, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Germany


Derwing, T. & Munro, M. (2015). Pronunciation fundamentals. Evidence-based perspectives for L2 teaching and research. Language Learning & Language Teaching 42. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

Thomson, R. (2018). Measurement of accentedness, intelligibility, and comprehensibility. In: Kang, Okim & April Ginther (Hgg.), Assessment in second language pronunciation. London/New York: Routledge, 11–29.

Toivola, M. 2011. Vieraan aksentin arviointi ja mittaaminen Suomessa. [The assessment and measurement of foreign accent.] Dissertation.The University of Helsinki. Available at:

Tulaja, L. (2020b). Exploring acceptability: L1 judgements of L2 Danish learners’ errors. In Kang, Okim et al. (Hgg.). Proceedings of the 11th Pronunciation in Second Language Learning and Teaching conference. Northern Arizona University, September 2019. Ames, IA: Iowa State University, 197–206.