Using effective listening skills with international patrons

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to review literature from the linguistics and language teaching fields on the listener's role in accent perception, and applies the findings towards recommendations for improving listening skills for library faculty and staff who interact with international patrons. Design/methodology/approach: Detailed empirically-based evidence on listening and accented speech can be gathered from the linguistics and language teaching fields, in which researchers have studied extensively the effects of foreign accent on listeners. This paper reviews literature on the role of listener attitude, experience and prior knowledge in the communication process, and outlines a training program for library staff based on evidence from the literature. Findings: The listener's attitudes, experience, and knowledge affect his or her perception of accented speech. Comprehension of accented speech can be improved both through increasing awareness of issues related to accent, and through listening practice. Practical implications: Library public service staff can improve their listening skills through training programs that include awareness raising, listening practice, and discussion of cross-cultural communication issues. Originality/value: This paper synthesizes research not usually found in the library literature, and makes specific recommendations for improving library service based on empirical research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10-19
Number of pages10
JournalReference Services Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 25 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Library and Information Sciences


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