The Effects of ‘Face’ on Listening Comprehension: Evidence from Advanced Jordanian Speakers of English
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This empirical study examines the extent to which ‘face’, i.e. (audio visual dialogues), affects the listening comprehension of advanced Jordanian EFL learners in a TOFEL-like test, as opposed to its absence (i.e. a purely audio test) which is the current norm in many English language proficiency tests, including but not limited to TOFEL iBT, TOEIC and academic IELTS. Through an online experiment, 60 Jordanian postgraduate linguistics and English literature students (advanced EFL learners) at the University of Jordan sit for two listening tests (simulating English proficiency tests); namely, one which is purely audio [i.e. without any face (including any visuals such as motion, as well as still pictures)], and one which is audiovisual/video. The results clearly show that the inclusion of visuals enhances subjects’ performance in listening tests. It is concluded that since the aim of English proficiency tests such as TOEFL iBT is to qualify or disqualify subjects to work and study in western English-speaking countries, the exclusion of visuals is unfounded. In actuality, most natural interaction includes visibility of the interlocutors involved, and hence test takers who sit purely audio proficiency tests in English or any other language are placed at a disadvantage.
KeywordsAudiovisual Audio-only Face Listening test Listening comprehension proficiency tests TOFEL
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