First Advisor

Naguib A. F. Greis

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages






English language -- Grammar -- Examinations



Physical Description

1 online resource (83 p.)


Intensive college-level ESL programs typically focus on building students' academic skills in English. Yet many ESL students leave the intensive programs only to find that they cannot sufficiently comprehend conversations with native English-speaking classmates or understand freshman-level lectures. While the students frequently perceive the problem as relating to the rapid speech tempo used by native speakers, an integral part of the comprehension problem is the pervasive use of modified forms of English, commonly called reductions, contractions, and assimilations.

The present research investigates whether comprehension of certain modified forms of spoken informal English can be used to measure students' level of proficiency. The research, based on an integrative approach to learning, hypothesizes that successful identification of informal forms may be as reliable and valid as standardized tests currently used to measure students' proficiency in grammar and listening comprehension. The instrument for conducting the research is a contextualized taped dialogue presented as a cloze exercise which depends on redundancy features of English in addition to knowledge of grammatical structures to help the subject reconstruct missing grammatical elements of the dialogue. Research data were not statistically significant to support the original hypothesis because of small sample size, but some general conclusions can be drawn. Conclusions and recommendations are discussed with attention to current trends toward content-based classes.


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