Table of Contents
Chapter one: Introduction
1.2 Theoretical Framework4
1 .3 statement of problem5
1.4. Significant of the study7
1.5. Research Question of the study7
1.6. Hypothese of study7
1.7. Definitions of Key Terms8
Chapter Two : Literature review
2.1What is listening?11
2.3 Theory of listening comprehension15
2.4 Listening strategies15
2.5 One-way listening versus two way listening17
2.6 General proficiency in listening comprehension19
2.7 Empirical research about listening comprehension20
2.8 Role’s of listeners in the classroom22
2.9 Relation between listening and speaking23
2.10 General framework about the speech rate25
2.11 Defining speech rate terminology26
2.12 Speech rate and Preceding research27
2.13 speech rate and different effect on listening29
2.14 Standard speech rate in English30
2.15 Speech rate and interlocutor33
2.16 Appropriate speech rate34
2.17 Natural rate vs slow rate36
2.18 Control speech rate vs. slow speech rate38
2.19 Problem of speech rate40
2. 20 Modified speech rate and listening41
3.1 Design of the study44
3.5 Methods of analyzing data47
Chapter Four :Results
4.1. Data analysis and findings48
4.1.1. Descriptive Analysis of the Data48
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4.2. Results of Hypothesis Testing52
Chapter Five General Discussion
5.1 General Discussion53
5.2 Pedagogical implication54
5.3 Limitation of the study55
5.4 Suggestion for further research56
Appendix A(OPT Test)62
List of Tables
Table(1) shows the “normal” and the “slow” SR ranges adopted. Table 1 Note. NS: normal speeds, 3-Sp: 3-second pauses, DA: deliberate articulation The Listening27
Table(2) :Measuring unit32
Table(3): Standard speech rate32
Table (4):Showed different speech rate (ideal speech rate)41
Table4. 2. Descriptive analysis of pre and posttest in both groups50
Table4.3.The results of T-TEST to examine the differences between pre and50
post test in control and experimental50
Table 4.4. Mean and adjusted means of listening comprehension test in post test50
Table4.5.listening comprehension covariance in both groups51
List of Figures
Figure1.1. the Diagram of the Design of the Study44
Figure4.1. level of listening comprehension in both groups (experimental, control)49
Figure4.2. means of listening comprehension in post test in both groups52
The aim of the present study was to investigate the Impact of Speech Rate on Iranian Intermediate EFL Learners’ Listening Comprehension Ability. To achieve this purpose, forty four participants intermediate language learners were selected based on their scores on a knowledge on an OPT Test as the randomly assigned to two groups experimental and control group. Each group was exposed to as pre-test and post-test. At the end of the experiment, to see whether or not any changes happened regarding their comprehension with two different rate of speech .the results suggested that the participants who receive slow speech rate have higher listening comprehension ability after posttest comparing to control group.
Keywords: Listening Comprehension, Speech Rate, EFL.
This study is the importance of EFL learner’s rate’s of speech, which is essential pre request skills for speaking because that was influenced on listening comprehension of interlocutors so good listeners become good communicators. Although there is the lack of enough research and the systematic investigation about the listening comprehension (Joiner, 1986; Long, 1987; Dunkel,1991; Rubin, 1994; Mendelsohn, 1998) because there is a belief about the this happen that without the natural exposure to spoken language we can’t acquire listening comprehension ability while other skills should be thought through directional instruction in school setting (Herron &Sedy,1991; Schmidt-Rinehart,1992). This belief showed that there is an important attention of researchers on the language and the lack of materials available for teachers who emphasize role of listening for the students L2 learning. When nonnative listeners have problem for understanding a passage , they usually complain that language is spoken too fast (white,1987) but if they practice listening they can reinforce their speaking and better perceive message .According to Rivers (1966,pp.196, 204) an advocate for listening comprehension , ”Speaking does not of itself constitute communication unless what is said is comprehended by another person… teaching the comprehension of spoken speech is there for of primary importance if the communication aim is to be reached.’ Listening comprehension is important for both teacher and student, Chastain (1976) language teachers and students want to overlook the importance of listening comprehension skill. They do because they fail to developing attention on functional listening comprehension they just attention on fix completely ,speaking, because information processing time factor as an important in listening comprehension.L2 learners have difficulty recognize different part of message ,they can’t separate any noise , syntax and functional, and other part of sentence even in their language therefore they are not good listener when they are contacted with fast speech sound they confused, this happen reflected a question that often heard, ”Do you speak…? ” Obviously, one cannot speak a language unless can understand it .Listening comprehension process is internal not subject to direct and external observation and make correction. Also , since the teachers in their classrooms have little experience for providing class activities for improving students listening comprehension ability they can’t be prepare suitable activity for guidance of learners .The learners for learning to speak English first should learn to understand real language situations to comprehend purpose of native speakers in their speaking .Previous studies showed that many students who go to another country are much less able to perceive native speech than they are to create message ,incomplete as that native speakers can understand. This showed that listening comprehension is necessary for language learning and communicating to real language situation to the teachers and students want to achieve in communication goals. Psychologists describe listening as the comprehending meaning of stream of verbal symbols. Listening comprehension is the most important part of language learning means of the students can’t learn the language without comprehension of it. In spite of learner would like to perceive second language speakers they want to comprehend different speed of speech sound. When students listen to speech sound for making sense of it they should understand perfectly at the first of all gist of native speaker said as part of important skills, listener contrast to reader who has opportunity to go back for understanding, they can’t go back to the next so speaker should have enough knowledge about the speaking and interlocutor for adopting simplified input that called foreign talk to non-native speakers by using a slower speech rate. According to (Dunkel, 1991; Rost, 2001; Vandergrift, 2007) Listening is an important language skill to develop second language acquisition. Listening comprehension in the classroom for some of the learners want to perceive oral presentation of her teacher is the same way need to struggle with listening comprehension they will struggle to learn material presented orally. According to grift (2007) one of the reasons might be that learners are not taught how to learn listening effectively. If the teachers aware of some factors that affect listening comprehension helps them better provide the needs of their students in the fact that how the learners listen, has essential effect on learners job and on the better relationships with others for students listen to get information and enjoyment, to learn and understand Because according to some researchers we remember between 25 percent and 50 percent of what we listen. It means that when we talk with others for 10 minutes, they pay attention to less than half of the conversation. Clearly, listening comprehension is a skill that the learner can improve it by better listening and productivity and the learner should avoid the conflict and misunderstandings as well as their ability to effect in their communication.
1.2 Theoretical Framework
In recent years, there has been a growing of research on the effects of speech modification on L2 listening comprehension. Speech rate research has not been able to precisely define the rate ranges by EFL listeners of different proficiency levels given the disparity among these ranges , according to Zhao (1997) has led to serious methodological flaws and inconsistent results that make the transferability of these conclusions to other contexts almost impossible. Griffiths (1992) studied the effects of speech rates (127, 188, 250 wpm) on the nonnative speaker’s listening comprehension and concluded that the slowest rate was the most comprehensible and the higher rates led to worse comprehension. Teachers and learners should take into account features of slow and natural speech rate and know that both have some advantages and disadvantages. Griffiths (1992) concluded that reducing the velocity of speech rate was positively related to high listening comprehension mean scores . Slow speech rate may be used as a short path practice for comprehending natural speech rate there for comprehending natural speech rate is the optimal objective . This study underlying psychological building block of application of Krashen’s Input Hypothesis (1985) which postulates i+1 input for the learner in the learning and teaching settings. Most of the previous studied about speech rate (e.g., Khatib, 2010; Sakaki, 1996)were carried out on high school in their English books and listening comprehension has been involve in syllabus. Therefore the researcher not only found it useful and practical to have a study in high school but also will compare listening comprehension at two different speech rate therefore main objective whether listening to normal versus slow rate effects on Iranian EFL learners listening comprehension ability or not and investigate the impact of speech rate on intermediate EFL learners’ listening comprehension ability.
1 .3 statement of problem
Nowadays, researchers have realized that listening comprehension is important part of language learning and teaching and need to worthy attention and research. One of the important skills in teaching and learning English is the listening comprehension. According to (Vandergrift, 2006) Unlike reading, listening needs to deal with spoken language that is often unplanned and typically exhibits short idea units. According to (Witkin, 1990) One of the chief problems in the field of listening research is the lack of consensus on the definition of listening. Joiner (1984) stated that one of the fundamental reasons listening has been so difficult to define is that it is a covert activity. Byrnes (1984) contended that although listening literature in the past decades has attempted to unify all components of listening found in related studies and to formulate a common base for a definition of a listening, the conceptualization of listening still needs more research since listening is a “high-complex problem solving activity” (p. 318) that can be broken down into a set of distinct sub-skills. Coakley and Wolv in (1986) said that the stem of the difficulty in defining listening is in part from the complex relationship between listening skills and thinking skills since “the emphasis on comprehension in the tests used to measure listening skills illustrates how closely listening skills are related to thinking skills” (p. 15). According to Hayati (2010) argued about listening or exposure to natural speech rate made a significant improvement in learners’ listening comprehension. Boyle (1984), Flower dew and Miller (1992) pointed that fast speech rate led to problem in listening comprehension Now a days, however, researchers have realized that listening comprehension is an important part of language teaching and learning and worthy of attention to speech and research. The researcher study the foregoing issue and probably fined a better way to help both the learners and teachers come over such a problem. This studies dealing with the effect of speech rate on listening can help teachers use speed modification in their classes provided differing rates of speech are worked on simultaneously. Providing listeners just with ungraded materials may not prove helpful. Another important basis for the current study is that some scholars (Boyle, 1984; Flower dew & Miller, 1992; Stenly, 1978) believe that there is a need to modify the natural speech rate into slow speech rate in order to be understandable for the EFL learners. It introduces way of speaking for easily understandable to contact with different interlocutor esp in the classroom for our teachers. According to Stenly (1978) argued about adverse effect of speech rate on listening comprehension. Chauron (1979) said that one of the important features of listening comprehension was the great speed according connected speech. Others believe that speech rate as one of the factors in listening comprehension has been the main subject of research lately main variables. Blau (1990) and Derwing and Munro (2001) the other researchers concluded that speed modification facilitates listening comprehension. According to Foulke (1968) in this study speeding up of recording up to 260wpm had no effect on comprehension but above that it began to crumble precipitously. Foulke and Stitch (1969) and Stitch (1971) concluded that the threshold for listening comprehension is 275 wpm after which comprehension declines rapidly. Friedman and Johnson (1971, cited by Griffiths, 1990) reported on the structurally spaced pauses into orally presented Russian sentences and significantly accurate recall. Some researchers believe that listening comprehension and speech rate are related together and if speech rate goes up listening comprehension will go down. Others contend that students had to expose to listening materials with normal speech rate right from the start. Slow rate of speech is generally believed to be usually easier to comprehend than natural speech rate; this gives the students enough time to process the stream of information at a slower rate of delivery. In other words, because comprehension is increased in slow speech rate, students should be exposed to slow rate. However; the question that remains to be answered is how students will perform in listening comprehension of their high school text book if exposed to slow rate? Although speech rate can it seems to play one of the major controlling roles in listening comprehension that has formed the main initiative for the development of this research. problems that most learners and teachers are heard complaining about is getting an unacceptable command of listening comprehension even after covering the courses concerning it .The purpose of this study tended to investigate the influence of speed rate on word identification and listening comprehension of Iranian EFL students. The underlying psychological building block of this study was the application of Krashen’s Input Hypothesis (1985) which postulates i+1 input for the learner in the learning and teaching settings .
1.4. Significant of the study
This study investigating the benefits of speech rate in FL context is hardly enough. Basically, speech rate is one of the main factors which causes difficulties in evaluating listening comprehension. Zaho (1997) claimed that speech rate needs more productive investigation. Limitation in FL learners’ working memory and time do not always permit them to process natural listening input (normal speech rate) and EFL listeners have no control over the stream of speech rate of listening comprehension. One of the major problems of most Iranian students is listening comprehension. Sakaki (1996) believes that there are some problems among Iranian high school student. This research show that Schmidt (1990), who has drawn attention to the role of noticing in language learning, asserts that we will not learn anything from the input we hear and understand unless we notice something about it. However, it is plausible that comprehension is prerequisite to acquisition speech. this research study examines the extent of effectiveness of reducing the speech rate of the audio taped native input .Speech rate ranges perceived to be ideal in facilitating listening comprehension are investigated from the view point of adolescent EFL learners who carry unique socio cultural and school backgrounds.
1.5. Research Hypotheses:
The current study aims to answer the following questions:
1) Does slow speech rate have any effect on Iranian intermediate EFL learners’ listening comprehension ability?
1.6. Research Question:
The purpose of study is to reveal the Impact of Speech Rate on Iranian Intermediate EFL Learners’ Listening Comprehension Ability. The result will, therefore, shed lights on the following two hypotheses: 1) slow speech rate does not have any effect on Iranian intermediate EFL Learners’ listening comprehension ability.
1.7. Definitions of Key Terms
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Similar to the reading comprehension processes, LC is theoretically defined as an inferential process in which a listener is assumed to “associate an available auditory input with his/her existing background knowledge to access the intended meaning” Listening comprehension is more than just hearing what is said; rather, it is a child’s ability to understand the meaning of the words he hears and to relate to them in some way. Since comprehension during listening is dependent upon more than just the introduction of visual referents presented in a culturally neutral hybrid format, other factors such as velocity, and ”field” figure strongly in students’ aural comprehension fluency. When children hear a story, for instance, good listening comprehension enables them to understand it, remember it, discuss it, and even retell it in their own words. This is an important skill to develop even at an early age, because good listeners grow up to become good communicators.
Speech rate: The speed of input delivery – termed technically as speech rate – is one of the acoustic-temporal characteristics of the aural text. In the rate specialist literature, SR was classified as either belonging to the speaker’s characteristics (Ishler, 2010) or to the text features (Rubin, 1994) depending on the mode of the language delivery. Given that the standardized “normal,” “fast,” and “slow” SR ranges reported by Tauroza and Allison (1990) may be un generalizable to the IGCSE setting targeted, being highly context-bound, the SR range considered as the “normal” in this study fell between 124-150 WPM. This range represents the speeds preset by The Cambridge International Exams. Editing the aural texts included in this. study by inserting 3-second empty pauses reduced the SR range to 120-136 WPM, whereas adopting the deliberate articulation yielded a slower SR range of 70-124 WPM. These two SR ranges represent the “slow” SRs in the current study.
This study will expand our perceive of listening comprehension ability from two different speech rate (normal and slow) although both of them have some advantage and disadvantage ,This study said that if speech rate go up listening comprehension go down and vice versa. In this study, which is the “appropriate rate” as perceived by EFL intermediate learners. First, the rationale of manipulating the temporal characteristics of the audio-taped native talk to be comprehensible for NNSs was clarified. Next, the complexities involved in slowing the speeds of the native speech, the hot debate on the slowed speech rate authenticity, and the highly subjective definition of speech rates. Further, two research questions focused on the efficacy of speech rate reduction techniques, in facilitating the listening comprehension task performance of the target participants and their perceptions of appropriateness. Both dependent and independent variables of the experiment were mentioned. Finally, constructs of listening comprehension proficiency, speech rates and the task used for measuring the participants’ and listening comprehension ability were briefly discussed.
Listening comprehension is one of the most important skills in learning and teaching of second language. Researcher define listening as the perceiving of meaning from a continues stream of verbal symbols. According to theory of communication listening comprehension is receiving, decoding and interpreting of verbal message. According to (Pimsleur, Hancock and Furey, 1977) ” it would develop of itself if we taught our students to speak” when researchers mentioned about listening comprehension it means that comprehending the message or conversations in the second language is based on what is hear,s/he must answers a number of question. Because comprehension during listening of different speech depended on more than introduction of visual referents that it is present in a culturally neutral format and other factors for example velocity and ‘field’ strongly in students aural comprehension fluency. According to Friedman and Jonhn son (1971) and Jarvis (1972) ”students of second language are in apposition comparable that of persons listening to compressed speech in their native tongue. Although transition of lexical and syntactic are known in both but speech is too fast `to be processed efficiently. According to Little (1976) reduction of ”phonic rate of native speakers” as a result it make improved students’ performance therefore we have a question ” how do the second language learners perceived spoken English or fail to understand of it? Researchers to investigate the listening comprehension process that it can provide useful insights in to teaching of listening .Some students who learn to control their listening process can improve their comprehension .For improving the listening comprehension ability students can success in L2 acquisition in term of reduce learner’s anxiety. Since listening comprehension of learner’s self-confidence will be increase the learners will be motivated to get better conversation with L2 speakers. Vander grift (2007) said that L2 listening remains least researched of all four skills. Despite least researched skill in second language studies listening comprehension have different subject, such as: cognitive like bottom up process and top down process; linguistic subjects likes linguistic factors, lexis and phonology and affective subjects likes motivation and anxiety in listening have all investigated. The new construct of speech rate appear to have effected on listening comprehension and rate research in the 21 century. According to Hayati and Khatib (2010) and Zaho(1997) the speech manipulation and subjective the ”suitable rate” speech rate facilitate listening comprehension by giving control of speech to students listening comprehension was achieved by slowing down the speech rate .Jensen and Vinther’s (2003) pointed that listening comprehension training slower speeds can help to improve L2 learner’s comprehension. Swain (1995) showed that SLA studies described comprehensible input is critical for language acquisition as well as comprehensible output Other studies (Snow, Van Eeden & Muysken, 1981), investigated the impact of quantity of L2 input on SLA determined that exposure only to native speaker interactions in the target language does not appear to support SLA. So it is the subject that not only the quantity, but also the quality, of input is important to L2 learning outcomes. This study selected according to list of studies two criteria: currently &diversity. Most of studies which is considered listening comprehension research and speech rate due to important role of oral skills in effective communication between native speakers and non-native speakers. Rost (2001) contended that ” a key difference between more successful and less successful acquirers relates in large part to ability to used listening as a means of acquisition” (P.94). The first criteria that is used by different researchers in different context are presented. Iran (hayati and khatib (2010), Japanese(Griffith 1992) and(Chun2001) ,China (Flowerdew and miller 1992),Turkey (Coskun,2008) and (Kawashima ,2010) .Although research on L2 listening is increased over the past decades with various subject: example of listening comprehension processes (Valette,1977;Lund,1991;Bacon,1992;Goh,1997,2000,2002;Rost,2001). This variety of information related to how speech rate affects the comprehensibility of input directed to EFL listeners of with different L1 speakers. According to (Rivers, 1982) there is English speech rate and listening in English for intermediate level school curriculum, In spite of the importance of speech rate for improving English listening comprehension and fluency .Although before these study some of speech rate in the elementary level of school they have conducted that a nationwide Standardized Achievement Test (NSAT) for few years ago which aimed to find out 6th grad students English communicative ability. Jung (2009) said that it has relatively slow which affected by speech rate of majority of elementary text books. There for to keep the students to exposure to slow rate of English for improving listening comprehension because speech rate has been identified as an important element that is affecting on listening comprehension regardless the common believes about facilitate it with different rate of speech.
2.1What is listening?
Listening is the essential skills for developing second language acquisition (SLA).Although second language learners notice the listening as the most difficult language but is a highly complex problem-solving skill that requires connecting meaning to the stearm of speech sounds that is influenced by various factors. A listener have to form a different tasks for comprehending speech in second language. According to (Bacon, 1989; Shrum and Glisan, 1999) said that he/she depend on different kinds of knowledge such as lexical knowledge, grammatical knowledge and socio cultural knowledge. According to Than jar(2000:16) the people also requires ability to organize and remember what is present by giving ”conscious attention the sounds for the aim of getting meaning ”and ”by spending sufficient time to make sure that comprehension and intake of the second-language information takes place”. Although time is used little for listeners to reflect on the information and have conditions to ask for repetition. There for those aspects of listening and other aspects, there has not sufficient research in the field of listening. Rubin (1995) contended that ”Listening is a conceal activity and has heavy processing demands”. Listeners require to effort to make the sense of information and internalized it. Witking (1990) said that one of the problems about the listening research is the lack of consensus on the definition of listening. Byrnes (1984, p. 318) said that although listening literature in the past decades has attempted to unify all components of listening found in related studies and to formulate a common base for a definition of a listening, the conceptualization of listening still needs more research since listening is a “high-complex problem solving activity” it can `decayed a set of distinct sub-skills. Coakley and Wolvin (1986, p.15) said that the stem of the difficulty in defining listening is in part from the complex relationship between listening skills and thinking skills since “the emphasis on comprehension in the tests used to measure listening skills illustrates how closely listening skills are related to thinking skills”. According to (Rubin, 1994) the importance of teaching listening comprehension in the language classroom has a essential for foreign language teachers and researchers for a long time and this attention has an increased number of listening activities in students’ textbooks. In the fact that listening required investigated as a part of language teaching programs for various interpretive and evaluative purposes .The fact that happening listening comprehension in the mind and it is not directly observed the problems for test of language . The test of Listening should get the test takers for doing something for describing comprehension. Therefore, there is often a situation in various skills are gain and responses involve skills other than listening comprehension. Researchers expressed about the defining listening, some others introduced describing of listening from different aspects. According to Purdy (1991, p. 11) listening as “the active and dynamic process of attending, perceiving, interpreting, remembering, and responding to the expressed (verbal and nonverbal) needs, concerns, and information offered by other human beings”. According to Carroll (1993, p. 364) listening as some activities that involve “the individual’s capacity to apprehend, recognize, discriminate or even ignore”. According to Rubin (1995 ,p. 151)said that listening as “an active process in which a listener selects and interprets information which comes from auditory and visual clues in order to define what is going on and what the speakers are trying to express”. According to Lewkowicz (1981) the listener uses not only his knowledge of the language in the form of speaking but also have a knowledge of the outside world and how it relates to the subject , as well as interpretation of what is said so far, in order to comprehend the message. According to (Hafernic and Surguine, 1979, p.341). If the goal of an ESL program is” to prepare our students to cope with English outside the classroom”. According to (Bacon, 1998; Robinett, 1978; Ur, 1984) teachers try to avoid speech modification or simplification and to provide students with the kind of language they are likely to counter in real-life situations. In this review, an important study in the literature on L2 listening comprehension and teaching listening explored.
2.2 Historical over view of listening comprehension
Research on L2 listening comprehension process refer to over the past decay. Listening comprehension was attracted attention of both theory &practice when other skills like (I, e, reading, writing and speaking) have direct attention. According to (Mendelsohn,1984;oxford,1993) teachers often expect the learners to develop the listening comprehension by osmosis and without help, this approach according to Medelsohn (1984) is similar to Audio lingual method believe that the learners could improve their listening comprehension in target language by the experience and listening to target language all day long. Call (1985) believe that listening comprehension neglected or poorly taught may have stem from the belief that it is a passive skill and it just exposing the learners to spoken language provides instruction in listening comprehension . Audiolingualism is related to 20th century was important influence on theories of language teaching. Then continue this view with Behaviorists drew from Palov’s conditioning that develop the behavior in term of stimulus and response .The researchers explained that language development is in a same way .About the traditional approach of listening comprehension, according to (Meyer,1984, p.343) it is a skill for production –oriented activities, ”has trapped students in a frenzied ‘hear it, repeat it , hear it, answer it , or hear it , translate it!’ nightmare”. Also according to (Morley, 2001)in English language teaching American Audiolingual Approach ,program of the British Situational Approach didn’t pay attention to listening beyond its role in grammar and pronunciation drills and learners imitation of dialogues during the1940s,1950s, and1960s. Discussion about the listening comprehension was began in the mid-1960s by Rivers that according to (Morley, 2001, p.70) who has been ”long an advocate for listening comprehension”. Rivers (1966, p.196) said that ” speaking does not of itself constitute communication unless what is being said is comprehended by another person” and that ”Teaching the comprehension of spoken speeches is therefore of primary importance if the communication aim is to be reached” (p.204).In 1969 there was another events held in England, Cambridge that was the second AILA (International Association of Applied Linguistics)..In1970 listening comprehension began to change and that programs focus on pragmatic skills include listening as well as reading, writing, speaking. In 1980 researchers interested in investigation of complex skill, theory building, more research and development of listening comprehension. During the 1990s, focus on listening comprehension in language teaching through dramatically. Now listening comprehension investigate as an active skill that includes many process. According to Carrier(1999) contended that research in L2 listening focused on identify that some aspects involved in process of listening comprehension and how different factors influence the product of listening. Lewkowicz (1981) said that listener utilizes not only his knowledge of the language being spoken but also his knowledge of the outside world and how it relates to the topic at hand, as well as his interpretation of what has been said so far, in order to comprehend the message. According to Brown (1987) discovered expensive number of published courses on listening comprehension and practice in the classroom in many countries to describe that listening is the least important skill in language teaching.
2.3 Theory of listening comprehension