Influence of Road Traffic Noise on English Reading Comprehension of Chinese College Students Majoring in English

Wei Ding


Noise has a negative impact on language learning. But first and second lan-guages are affected differently by noise. To clarify the effects of road traffic noise on second language learning, this study explores deep into how road traffic noise, the main noise on university campuses, affects the English reading comprehension of Chinese college students majoring in English. The subjects were asked to finish English reading comprehension tests of three difficulty levels (easy, medium and hard) under road traffic noises of three sound pressure levels (SPLs), namely, 30 dBA, 50 dBA and 70 dBA. The score, time consumption and number of interruptions of each subject were recorded, and subjected to one-way analysis of variance (one-way ANOVA). In addition, the subjects were asked to evaluate the impacts of road traffic noises on their comprehension. The results show that: the scores of English reading comprehension gradually decreased with the growing of the SPL of road traffic noise, but the decrease is only significant for easy questions; the time consumption of reading comprehension was not greatly affected by the SPL of road traffic noise; the subjects were interrupted more frequently by road traffic noises of 50 dBA and 70 dBA than road traffic noise of 30 dBA, but the difference is only significant for hard test; according to the self-evaluation of the English majors, interruption is the main problem brought by road traffic noise, which is replaced by distraction at the SPL of 70 dBA. Overall, the road traffic noise can disturb the English reading comprehension of Chinese college students majoring in English, and the disturbance is relat-ed to the difficulty of the text. The higher the SPL of the road traffic noise, the readers are more anxious and more frequently disturbed in reading, and the lower the score of English comprehension. In addition, attention should be paid to the disturbance of 30 dBA road traffic noise on second language learners.

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International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning (iJET) – eISSN: 1863-0383
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