Mutual intelligibility between speakers of Liberian and American standard English in the school setting





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The current study investigates the extent of mutual intelligibility between speakers of Liberian English (LE) and American Standard English (ASE) in the school setting. The 8 LE-speaking students and the 8 ASE-speaking students who participated in the study completed a listening comprehension task and survey to determine their level of mutual intelligibility with ASE-speaking teachers. The 9 ASE-speaking teachers who participated also completed a survey to determine their attitudes toward mutual intelligibility in the classroom. The results of the survey and listening comprehension task revealed that ASE-speaking students had a higher level of mutual intelligibility with their teachers than did their LE-speaking peers. This disparity in mutual intelligibility suggests that more needs to be done in teacher preparation programs, professional development offerings, and curriculum and program design in order to better serve speakers of LE and other non-standard varieties of English.

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