Functional load revisited : reinterpreting the findings of ‘lingua franca’ intelligibility studies

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)

Abstract

The concept of functional load has been invoked for nearly a century in both research and pedagogy relating to pronunciation. However, it often suffers from a certain vagueness of definition. This article revisits the concept of functional load, outlining its origins and placing it within functionalist approaches to language and communication. The elaborated concept is then applied to the findings of lingua franca intelligibility studies, and it is argued that functional factors have explanatory potential. The application of functional load thus serves as a reinterpretation of the findings of lingua franca intelligibility studies by providing additional theoretical background. This reinterpretation suggests that although functional load is not a universal property of abstract language systems, certain features (such as consonants in general, and initial segments in particular) are widely relied upon in both lingua franca and non-lingua franca communication.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-79
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Second Language Pronunciation
Volume3
Issue number1
Early online date7 Apr 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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title = "Functional load revisited : reinterpreting the findings of ‘lingua franca’ intelligibility studies",
abstract = "The concept of functional load has been invoked for nearly a century in both research and pedagogy relating to pronunciation. However, it often suffers from a certain vagueness of definition. This article revisits the concept of functional load, outlining its origins and placing it within functionalist approaches to language and communication. The elaborated concept is then applied to the findings of lingua franca intelligibility studies, and it is argued that functional factors have explanatory potential. The application of functional load thus serves as a reinterpretation of the findings of lingua franca intelligibility studies by providing additional theoretical background. This reinterpretation suggests that although functional load is not a universal property of abstract language systems, certain features (such as consonants in general, and initial segments in particular) are widely relied upon in both lingua franca and non-lingua franca communication.",
author = "Andrew SEWELL",
year = "2017",
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language = "English",
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pages = "57--79",
journal = "Journal of Second Language Pronunciation",
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}

Functional load revisited : reinterpreting the findings of ‘lingua franca’ intelligibility studies. / SEWELL, Andrew.

In: Journal of Second Language Pronunciation, Vol. 3, No. 1, 2017, p. 57-79.

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)

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T1 - Functional load revisited : reinterpreting the findings of ‘lingua franca’ intelligibility studies

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PY - 2017

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AB - The concept of functional load has been invoked for nearly a century in both research and pedagogy relating to pronunciation. However, it often suffers from a certain vagueness of definition. This article revisits the concept of functional load, outlining its origins and placing it within functionalist approaches to language and communication. The elaborated concept is then applied to the findings of lingua franca intelligibility studies, and it is argued that functional factors have explanatory potential. The application of functional load thus serves as a reinterpretation of the findings of lingua franca intelligibility studies by providing additional theoretical background. This reinterpretation suggests that although functional load is not a universal property of abstract language systems, certain features (such as consonants in general, and initial segments in particular) are widely relied upon in both lingua franca and non-lingua franca communication.

UR - http://commons.ln.edu.hk/sw_master/6074

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JO - Journal of Second Language Pronunciation

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