The experiment reported here used time-compressed speech to handicap the process of listening comprehension in an attempt to observe aural processing strategy differences among groups of native English speakers and high- and medium-level skill groups learning the language. The participants were asked to immediately recall 5 time-compressed recordings each of 16 simple English sentences; the 5 replays represented decreasing rates of time-compression ranging from 40% to 90% normal playing time. Group performances were compared for the 5 rates of compression with regard to overall sentence recall as well as to the recall of specific parts of speech. Results showed both quantitative and qualitative differences among the three test groups. Overall recall of the time-compressed sentences decreased with decreasing proficiency in the language. Furthermore, whereas native listeners demonstrated a strategy of concentrating on key content words in the stimulus, both learner groups tended to recall more words they had heard in initial or final sentence position.
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