What factors affect pronunciation?

Factors Affecting the Pronunciation Abilities of Adult Learners of English. A Longitudinal Group StudyKarin Richter4ChapterFirst Online: 05 October 2018927 Accesses1 CitationsPart

What factors affect pronunciation?

Factors Affecting the Pronunciation Abilities of Adult Learners of English. A Longitudinal Group Study

  • Karin Richter4
  • Chapter
  • First Online: 05 October 2018
  • 927 Accesses
  • 1 Citations

Part of the English Language Education book series (ELED,volume 16)

Abstract

This paper seeks to shed light on the question as to why some L2 learners are more successful when it comes to pronunciation mastery than others. The most frequently given explanation for this much debated phenomenon is age and the impact of a critical period for language learning. While there seems to be little doubt about the potential correlation between the age of the learner and the ultimate level of his/her pronunciation mastery, there is more scholarly dispute regarding the question of whether age is the single most important reason for incomplete acquisition. This paper reports on the selected findings of a longitudinal group study which was carried out between 2011 and 2014. In this project, the changes in the perceived degree of foreign accent of a group of adult university students (N=55) were tracked over the entire duration of their Bachelor studies. The learners were recorded twice, once at the beginning and then again at the end of their studies, reading a text and narrating a picture story. In addition, questionnaires were designed to explore the impact of individual factors that may have played a role. The statistical analysis of the data obtained revealed that the overwhelming majority of the learners managed to ameliorate their foreign accent, yet no single factor could be identified as the most influential driver of pronunciation learning. Instead, a number of variables, most notably motivation, a lack of language anxiety, musicality, and increased exposure to the target language were found to be crucial aspects augmenting pronunciation aptitude.

Keywords

  • Longitudinal Study Group
  • Pronunciation Ability
  • Foreign Accent
  • Language Anxiety (LA)
  • English-medium Education (EMI)

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.

Some sections of this paper have been taken verbatim from my unpublished PhD thesis (Richter, 2015a).

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Richter, K. (2018). Factors Affecting the Pronunciation Abilities of Adult Learners of English. A Longitudinal Group Study. In: Reiterer, S. (eds) Exploring Language Aptitude: Views from Psychology, the Language Sciences, and Cognitive Neuroscience. English Language Education, vol 16. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-91917-1_18

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