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Selected Research Project
Project Title The Perception of Native English Fluent Speech in Chinese Learners of English: Individual Difference,
Error Profile and Cognitive- linguistic Correlates
Principal Investigator Dr Wong Wai Lap, Simpson
Area of Research Project
Psychological Studies


Project Period
From 1/2013 To 6/2015
  • Examine the overall proficiency level of listening skills of fluent speech spoken by native English speakers among Chinese undergraduate students learning English as a second language.
  • Identify and classify the perceptual difficulties in perceiving native English fluent speech which are not attributable to poor vocabulary knowledge.
  • Examine the relations between the perception of fluent speech and cognitive-linguistic skills, such as phoneme perception, categorical perception of phonemes, phonemic awareness, speech production, and phonological memory.
Methods Used
  • 110 Chinese first-year and second-year undergraduates will be recruited as participants
  • Participants will be tested on a battery of speech perception, meta-linguistic, and cognitive tasks individually
  • Group testing will be conducted to test participants’ vocabulary knowledge and overall proficiency of listening comprehension skills
  • Questionnaires will be used to obtain information on demographic characteristics and learning experiences of participants
Summary of Findings
  • The fluent speech perception profile of the students in general and of each individual will be revealed.
  • Aspects of fluent speech that pose difficulty to ESL learners will be identified.
  • Relations between fluent speech perception and various cognitive-linguistic skills will be found.
  • The results will enhance our understanding of the nature of native English fluent speech perception in Chinese learners and will provide a new framework for studying fluent speech perception among L2 learners.
  • The results on the linkage between fluent speech perceptual skills and phonological skills will shed light on the developmental pathway from perception to awareness.
  • The study will lay a foundation for the development of an assessment tool that will be used for systematic testing of native English fluent speech listening skills and identifying L2 learners who have special learning needs.
  • Three manuscripts for publication to scholarly journals.
  • Online introductory course on fluent speech perception and research findings in the area.
  • Presentations at joint-lab meetings, departmental and public seminars, and international conferences.
  • Project website introducing the background and presenting the findings of the project.
Biography of Principal Investigator

Dr. Wong obtained his bachelor degree in Psychology from the University of Hong Kong. He then joined the Perception Laboratory in the Chinese University of Hong Kong and conducted research on attention and vision perception. Afterward, he studied intensively on reading development and reading disorders in his master degree. Upon graduation, he carried on his study on the same topic using brain scanning technique. He has also engaged in training and counseling work in Salvation Army and YWCA. He is currently teaching and conducting research in the Department of Psychological Studies, the Hong Kong Institute of Education. He is working on several research projects: the perception of native English fluent speech in Chinese learners of English, development of a dyslexia screening test for preschool children in Hong Kong, and impacts of social and psychological factors on motivation in foreign language learning.

Funding Source
Early Career Scheme