Published online by Cambridge University Press: 21 January 2021
Research showed that the interlanguage speech intelligibility benefit (ISIB) effect progressively disappeared in Chinese speakers of English as their English proficiency increased and their exposure to Chinese-accented English decreased. As a result, ISIB effects were obvious in less proficient speakers. We explore the hypothesis that ISIB is still present in proficient L2 English speakers when tasks go beyond sound transcription and relate intelligibility to more complex sound-meaning mappings. Results showed that, in general, native English speakers outperformed Chinese speakers of English showing no evidence of an overall ISIB effect despite that Chinese speakers of English rated Chinese-accented sentences as more comprehensible. Only in the compound versus noun contrasts (e.g., ‘bluebird’ vs. ‘blue bird’), Chinese speakers of English outperformed native English speakers in the Chinese-accented stimuli, showing a mild ISIB-L effect. This modest evidence in support of ISIB encourages further exploration on aspects of sound perception that could affect ISIB in proficient L2 speakers.