The value of phonetics and pronunciation teaching for advanced learners of English
Pronunciation is an essential part of acquiring a second language, but far too often little time is spent on teaching it (Kelly 1969). It seems as if it is generally thought that pronunciation is something that will develop on its own, yet learners are still assumed to maintain a certain level. This paper investigates the effects of explicit pronunciation and phonetics teaching on the English speech production of advanced Dutch learners of English. The pronunciation of advanced university learners was investigated at several points over a period of three years, halfway during which their pronunciation teaching was stopped. The effect this termination had on their speech production was investigated, as well as any task-specific differences in read versus spontaneous speech. Also studied was the potential influence of studying abroad and taking English-taught courses. Overall, this study shows that explicit teaching has a clear effect on the pronunciation of the learners. Some features of pronunciation turn out to be more robust than others, and the task type has an unmistakeable influence on the native-like quality of the learners’ pronunciation, while there was only a minor effect of general exposure to English. Altogether, the value of explicit phonetics and pronunciation teaching turns out to be quite high for advanced second language learners, and once they acquire a certain level they are able to maintain a stable accent.
Copyright (c) 2017 Gwen Brekelmans
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors are confirming that they are the authors of the submitting article, which will be published (print and online) in journal Linguistica by Znanstvena založba Filozofske fakultete Univerze v Ljubljani (University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts, Aškerčeva 2, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia). Author’s name will be evident in the article in journal. All decisions regarding layout and distribution of the work are in hands of the publisher.
- Authors guarantee that the work is their own original creation and does not infringe any statutory or common-law copyright or any proprietary right of any third party. In case of claims by third parties, authors commit their self to defend the interests of the publisher, and shall cover any potential costs.
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work.