UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND CENTER FOR ADVANCED STUDY OF LANGUAGE
What makes listening difficult?
Factors affecting second language listening comprehension
Amber Bloomfield, PhD Sarah C. Wayland, PhD Elizabeth Rhoades, MA Allison Blodgett, PhD Jared Linck, PhD Steven Ross, PhD
PurPose—To establish what is currently known about factors that affect foreign language listening comprehension, with a focus on characteristics of the listener, passage, and testing conditions. ConClusions—Research on second language (L2) listening comprehension strongly supports the importance of a number of factors, for example, a listener’s working memory capacity and the number of ideas in a passage. Much of the research, however, reports weak or inconclusive results, leaving many factors and complex interactions among factors unresolved and in need of further investigation. relevanCe—Identifying the factors that affect L2 listening comprehension will help Defense Language Institute Proficiency Test (DLPT) designers anticipate how qualities of selected authentic materials will impact listening comprehension.
TTO 81434 E.3.1 | CDRL A017 | DID DI-MISC 80508B | Contract No. H98230-07-D-0175
PurPose The U.S. Government administers the Defense Language Proficiency Test (DLPT) to military linguists and other government personnel to assess their listening and reading comprehension in a number of foreign languages, including critical languages such as Mandarin, Modern Standard Arabic, Egyptian Arabic, and Persian Farsi. The DLPT is updated every 10 to 15 years, and the most recent transition—from DLPT IV to DLPT5—included a greater emphasis on testing listening comprehension with authentic materials. In turn, this has led to a growing interest in the factors that make second language (L2) listening difficult. To examine these factors, CASL reviewed the current scientific literature and summarized the characteristics of listeners, passages, and testing conditions. The...