Richards, Monica (Iowa State University)
A Comprehensive Analysis of the Word Stress of New General Service List Vocabulary
Michael West’s (1954) General Service List of English Words (GSL) has grounded L2 English vocabulary acquisition materials (e.g. Coxhead's 2001 Academic Word List) for decades, but an updated corpus-based list of general English vocabulary has long been needed. Browne, Culligan & Phillips' (2013) New General Service List (NGSL) fulfills this need with its list of approximately 3000 vocabulary tokens second language learners of English are most likely to encounter in a wide variety of academic and nonacademic contexts. This presentation provides a comprehensive analysis of word stress patterns identifiable in the NGSL, demonstrating that 97% of NGSL vocabulary falls into eight word stress pattern categories. That is, because research has repeatedly demonstrated that L2 English intelligibility is substantially impacted by word stress for both L1 and L2 English listeners (e.g. Field, 2005; Isaacs & Trofimovich, 2012; Zielinski, 2008) and because, as McCrocklin (2012) points out, several studies have indicated that word stress is indeed learnable by L2 English speakers, this presentation provides a comprehensive account of the patterns most important for L2 English teachers/materials developers/learners to target.
Sands, Kathy (SIL)
Pronunciation Issues for Korean Speakers in Linguistic Perspective
The purpose of this paper is to present a range of Korean ESL pronunciation issues observed over a 15- semester timeframe from the vantage point of a linguist and phonetician, demonstrating as well the key role of linguistics in the pronunciation classroom. Pronunciation issues arise from a variety of linguistic sources, including differences in inventory, phonemic relationships, syllable structure, and prosodic patterns. Korean speakers in particular encounter significant difficulties acquiring clear English pronunciation, given the particular differences between languages. Beyond the usual challenges posed typologically for many ESL students (for example, front vowels, dental fricatives, and liquids in English), and the easier-to-diagnose sound substitutions, we find that a number of complex issues for Koreans. Among theseː (1) Syllable count may be significantly affected, owing to L1 voicing assimilation which devoices some syllable nuclei (for example, the [i] of mercy devoices, resulting in the perception of a one-syllable word), a lack of onsetless syllables in the L1 which results in syllables merging (for example, fluent becomes a one-syllable word), and L1 phonotactic constraints which give rise to epenthetic vowels (for example, lunch [ˈləәntʃi). (2) Critical manner distinctions among obstruents may be obscured by apparent interaction with L1 stress patterns and syllable position, with [-cont] plosives/affricates appearing in ‘stronger’ positions and [+cont] fricatives in ‘weaker’ positions (for example, phobia [ˈfoubiəә] becomes [ˈpʰouβiəә]; note also the substitution of bilabial fricatives [ɸ,β] for labiodental [f,p]). (3) Significant lip rounding differences also become apparent, in degree (for example, ring [ɹɪŋ] becomes wing [wɪŋ]), in duration (for example, she [ʃi] becoming [ʃʷi] for some speakers), in movement (Exː Cuban begins and stays rounded across the first syllable; question begins and stays unrounded), and in presence (Exː language may begin with a rounded [l]). (4) Differences in phonemic status of sibilants between L1 and L2 may obscure sibilant place distinctions. For example, Mexico [ˈmɛksikou] becomes [ˈmɛkʃikou] as [s] palatalizes around high front vowels (which are also not distinguished; note also the devoiced [i] affecting syllable count). Particularly difficult sets of words for Koreans to distinguish include Caesar’s/scissors/seizures and eats/its/each/itch. Note that [z] is absent in Korean and obstruent manner issues (above) may produce affricates, as observed in the [z] of musician becoming [dʒ]. Pronunciation issues may be quite complex, interrelated, and subtle, as seen in the Korean examples above, pointing to a critical role for linguistics in second-language pronunciation teaching. Solid background in phonetics and phonology is needed to analyze the linguistic source of pronunciation errors accurately in any L1 and provide students with clear explanations and effective, individualized coaching. Pronunciation students also benefit from a degree of overt linguistic instruction, in my experience. They appreciate having a system in which to fit what they learn and a common set of tools for the classroom. Fitting observed pronunciation issues into a linguistic framework also enables topics to be ordered in a way that is most helpful for students. For example, once students understand voicing contrast, they can easily grasp the principles of keeping all syllables voiced, lengthening vowels before voiced consonants, and matching the voicing on all the -ed/-s endings to the prior consonant. Linguistic tools at our disposal are key to highly successful pronunciation teaching and learning, in any L1 context.
Simonchyk, Ala (Indiana University)
Acquisition of Word Final Devoicing by American Learners of Russian
The study investigated the acquisition of the phonological rule of word final devoicing by American learners of Russian and sought to answer whether articulatory features, such as place of articulation, manner of articulation and palatalization had an effect on the degree of voicing preserved in the final obstruents. The participants of the study were 20 American learners of Russian. The materials of the study constituted 20 pseudowords of a CVC structure. The phonetic environment was thoroughly controlled. Minimal pairs were excluded to avoid task effects. The target words were matched to pictures of real objects that were assigned different meanings related to the topic of space traveling. The participants had to memorize the target words for further elicitation. Pictures were used to reduce the possible effects of orthography. In order to memorize the words, the participants had to go through a word-learning stage that included four exercises. Then the participants performed a picture-naming task. The results suggested that learners could not fully acquire the rule of word final devoicing in Russian. The influence of learners’ native English phonology, which allows voicing contrasts word- finally, was observed in the productions of word final obstruents. Stops retained significantly more voicing than fricatives and palatalized consonants were consistently more devoiced than plain consonants. Place of articulation did not have a straightforward effect on the degree of voicing in the final obstruents, however, some tendencies and interactions were observed in the data.
Sonsaat, Sinem (Iowa State University)
Teaching of Pronunciation in EFL Teacher Training Programs in Turkey
Research has shown that ESL/EFL teachers are reluctant to teach pronunciation since they find it challenging due to various reasons (Couper, 2003, 2006). Not being provided with sufficient training is one of the most frequently reported reasons of all so far (Foote, Holtby, Derwing, 2011). Teachers’ concerns about not having access to proper training draws the attention to the teacher training programs and how they integrate pronunciation teaching into their curriculum as well as how they prepare prospective teachers to teach pronunciation. Therefore, this study addresses two questions: How do EFL teacher training programs across Turkey approach and teach pronunciation?; and Do they prepare their prospective teachers to teach pronunciation effectively, if so, how? The first question of the study is based on the survey that was first developed by Breitkreutz, Derwing, and Rossiter (2001) and improved by Foote, Holtby, and Derwing (2011) for a follow-up study later on. The second question is explored by further questions added to the survey that is employed for the first question and semi-structured interviews conducted with some of the instructors who have shown willingness to contribute more to the current study. To the best knowledge of the current researcher, there has not been much research on how pronunciation is taught in EFL teacher training programs in spite of many in-service teachers’ complaints about not having training on how to teach pronunciation. Therefore, the current study contributes to the field by exploring the current practices in the teacher training programs rather than exploring beliefs and practices of in-service teachers that has been explored by several researchers so far (Burns, 2006; Couper, 2003, 2005; Derwing, 2013; Derwing & Munro, 2005).
Sturm, Jessica (Purdue University)
Liaison in L2 French: The effects of instruction
Liaison of words with latent final consonants to words beginning with vowels has proven difficult for learners of French as an L2. Yet appropriate use of liaison is important for intelligibility as well as appropriate register. The present research examines the effect of a series of lessons introducing and explaining liaison on intermediate learners of L2 French. Two groups of FR 301 (5th semester) students recorded a text at the beginning, middle, and end of the semester. One group received explicit liaison instruction while the other did not. Results are interpreted in light of Schmidt’s (1990; 1992; 1993; 1994; 1995; 2001) and Robinson’s (1995; 2003) work on attention and awareness in L2 learning.
Thir, Veronkika (University of Vienna)
Implications of English as a lingua franca for pronunciation teaching in English language teacher education
With the majority of conversations in English these days taking place in international settings, TESOL professionals have increasingly come to realize the importance of English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) communication for learners of English. As pronunciation seems to play a particularly important role in successful ELF communication (Jenkins 2000), it follows that English language teachers need to be aware of the nature of ELF pronunciation in order to help their students attain a pronunciation that will be intelligible in international settings. Yet, despite the ever increasing number of ELF users around the world and the growing significance of ELF for the ELT classroom, the practices of English pronunciation teaching have still remained largely unaffected by these developments. The major problem seems to be that the role of ELF, and of language variation in general, tend to be marginalized in the education of English language teachers, who instead merely receive phonetic training in . In this talk, I present an approach to pronunciation teaching in English language teacher education that recognizes the significance of ELF for ELT by integrating implications of ELF and World English research for pronunciation teaching with practical phonetics training. Drawing on my experience as a tutor for practical English phonetics at the University of Vienna, I will consider issues such as different levels of competence in pronunciation amongst advanced learners of English, the learners’ need for self-expression through their accents and the question of how future teachers of English can be prepared to teach the native varieties prescribed in most curricula while taking proper account of the international role of English.
Jenkins, Jennifer. 2000. The phonology of English as an international language. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Watts, Patricia (University of Illinois)
Huensch, Amanda (University of South Florida)
Assessing Assessment: A Pronunciation Diagnostic Case Study
In the last two decades, interest in L2 pronunciation has steadily gained momentum, yet little attention has been paid to the area of assessing pronunciation either independently or as part of the larger construct of speaking ability. Isaacs’ (2014) chapter on assessing pronunciation bemoans this fact while also noting how assessment should and could reflect recent advances in theory and research, such as the paradigm shift from accentedness to comprehensibility (Levis, 2005) and findings related to intelligibility (e.g., Munro & Derwing, 2006).
In this case study, the researchers critique an existing pronunciation diagnostic test and revise it taking into account insights from the literature. To that end, they explore the following topics:
The value and limitations of read-aloud tasks
The use of free speech in pronunciation diagnostics
“Atomistic” vs. holistic rating
The development of rating scales reflecting the aforementioned paradigm shift from accentedness to comprehensibility
Relating intelligibility findings to the creation of test items and the rating of speech samples
The suitability of test items for use with examinees from multiple language backgrounds, especially for the segmental level
While the pronunciation test under examination is used within the context of international teaching assistant training, the researchers believe the study to be valuable and relevant for test development in other contexts and for languages other than English as well.
Isaacs, T. (2014). Assessing pronunciation. In Antony Kunnan (Ed.) The Companion to Language Assessment, 140-155. Alden, MA: John Wiley & Sons.
Levis, J. (2005). Changing contexts and shifting paradigms in pronunciation teaching. TESOL Quarterley, 39, 369-377.
Munro, M. & Derwing, T. (2006). The functional load principle in ESL pronunciation instruction: An exploratory study. System, 34, 520-531.
Yokomoto, Katsuya (Rikkyo University)
IPA Training to Improve Comprehensibility of EFL Learners
This study investigated the effects of literacy training in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) on the development of EFL learners’ comprehensibility and accentedness. A total of 24 learners at a college in Japan received training in English segmentals using the IPA. During pre-, post-, and delayed post-tests, all of the learners read three sets of scripts written in English only, English and IPA, and IPA only aloud. All sessions were audio-recorded in their entirety. Five native English speakers judged these audio samples for comprehensibility and accentedness using a 9-point scale. All learners showed improved scores in both comprehensibility and accentedness in post- and delayed post-tests when they read the scripts that included the IPA. However, when the IPA was not provided in the script, 9 learners did not improve their scores in either comprehensibility or accentedness in post- and delayed post-tests. Therefore, it can be concluded that being able to read the IPA helps learners to produce more comprehensible and less accented pronunciation; however, this ability might not be demonstrated when IPA symbols are not provided as a reference. The pedagogical implication of this study is that the ability to pronounce English words correctly should be considered separately from understanding the sound-spelling correspondence in English.
Zetterholm, Elisabeth (Linnaeus University)
Tronnier, Mechtild (Lund University)
Swedish tonal word accents produced by Vietnamese L1-speakers
This study addresses the question of whether Vietnamese L1-speakers make an adequate distinction in tonal patterns when producing two tonal accent words in their L2-Swedish. These two tonal word accents were based on varied tonal contours aligned with the stressed syllable in the word. Both Vietnamese, with six lexical tones, and Swedish, with two tonal word accents, use tonal features to distinguish meaning on a lexical level. Some previous studies suggest, that a lexical tonal L1 may provide L2-learners an advantage in perceptually discriminating among different tones in another tone language, while others show that this may not necessarily be the case. Recordings of native speakers of Vietnamese learning Swedish as their second language were used for this study. In these recordings, the speakers read sentences that contained four minimal pairs contrasted by word accents only. The accuracy of the two accent patterns of the Vietnamese speakers was examined by means of identification tests carried out by native Swedish listeners. The identification rate was compared with results of a matching set of stimuli produced by L1-speakers of Swedish. Results revealed that no adequate distinction is made between the accents by the L2-speakers. However, one of the tonal patterns is produced more frequently and more often identified correctly. Stimuli produced by L1-speakers of Swedish are more often correctly identified, although not in all cases. It might be that a tonal contour, similar to one of the Swedish tonal word accents, is relevant or familiar in tonal production in L1-Vietnamese and therefore transferred to L2-Swedish. The production data are confirmed in acoustic analyses.
Zhang, Hang (George Washington University)
The realization of narrow focus in L2 Chinese
Mandarin Chinese is a tonal language and sentence level prominence is expressed mainly by expanding pitch range, intensity and duration but not changing the lexical tone contours (Chen 2004; Flemming 2008). The acquisition of Mandarin focus marking poses a difficult challenge for non-tonal language speakers, such as English, Japanese and Korean which represent three types of non-tonal languages (stress-accent languages, pitch-accent languages and non-stress non-pitch accent languages).
This study examines the second language (L2) tonal productions of Chinese mono-syllabic narrow focus implemented by 20 American English-speaking learners, 20 Tokyo Japanese-speaking learners and 20 Korean-speaking learners. It is found that Japanese speakers’ general accuracy rate is higher than English and Korean speakers’. In terms of individual tones, all groups show the greatest accuracy with the target Mandarin high-falling tone (T4). However, when errors occur, English-speaking learners demonstrate an obvious preference of T4 to substitute for target tones, which reflects the L1 transfer of accented pitch tone H*L. Japanese-speaking learners usually lengthen low tones and use Mandarin low dipping tone (Full-T3) in substitutions. Korean speakers don’t show obvious preference of tones. This study argues that the frequent use of low pitch in focus marking by Japanese and Korean speakers may not be ascribed to L1 but due to the unmarkedness of low tones (Ohala 1978; Yip 2002). It represents the situation of “the Emergence of the Unmarked” in the context of L2 acquisition (Broselow et al., 1998). That is, these error patterns in L2 acquisition could neither have been learned from L2 input alone nor derived from the L1 grammar patterns but reveal universally preferred tone structures. This study concludes that the effects of L1 transfer and the “emergence of the unmarked” (McCarthy and Prince, 1994) co-construct the non-tonal language speakers’ interlanguage tone grammars for sentence focus marking.
Broselow, E., et al. (1987) "The perception of second language prosody," Interlanguage Phonology: 350-362.
Chen, Y-Y. (2004). Focus and Intonational Phrase Boundary in Standard Chinese. ISCA Archive. International Symposium on Chinese Spoken Language Processing (ISCSLP 2004).
Flemming, E. (2008) The role of pitch range in focus marking. Slides from a talk given at the Workshop on Information Structure and Prosody, Studiecentrum Soeterbeeck (2008).
Jun, S-A. (2005). Korean Intonational Phonology and Prosodic Transcription. in Jun, S-A. (eds.) Prosodic Typology. pp.201-230. Oxford, UK.
McCarthy, J. & A.Prince (1994) The Emergence of the Unmarked: Optimality in Prosodic Morphology.
Ohala, J. J. (1978). Production of Tone. In Tone: A Linguistic Survey. P. 3-39.
Venditti, J.,et al.(2008) Prominence marking in the Japanese intonation system. Handbook of Japanese Ling.
Yip, M. (2002). Tone. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge, UK.
Zhuang, Yuan (Northern Arizona University)
Examining the Effectiveness of Teaching English Intonation to Brazilian ESL Learners
This study investigates the effectiveness of using a computer program , Praat, to help Brazilian ESL learners improve their ability to use English intonation in communication. Recent research suggests that intonation and other suprasegmental features of pronunciation may have significant effects on oral proficiency and comprehensibility (e.g., Derwing & Munro, 1997, 1998; Kang, 2010b, 2013). However, studies on the effectiveness of suprasegmentals teaching have not been able to reach a satisfactory level of consensus on how intonation can be effectively taught (e.g., Anderson-Hsieh, 1992; Levis & Pickering, 2004) in classroom. Previous studies have chosen the ESL learners of Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, French, Japanese, Korean, and Spanish, but researchers have paid very little attention to examine the English intonation produced by Portuguese L1 speakers. Portuguese speakers are generally considered to have similar problems in intonation as the Spanish speakers (Avery & Ehrlich, 1992). In this study, 32 ESL learners from Brazil were recruited and divided into two groups: one treatment group (n = 16) and one comparison group (n = 16). The treatment group received a four-week (eight hours in total) perception training of English intonation patterns and the communication functions of intonation. The comparison group received no training. A pretest/posttest quasi-experimental design was used to investigate the development of the ESL learners’ intonation production. It is expected that a significant group difference of intonation production will be found after training. The study will provide support that ESL learners can develop intonation production through explicit perception training. It will also show the positive effects of Computer-Assisted Pronunciation Teaching, and provide implications for English teachers to better understand and teach English suprasegmental features.
Teaching Tips Abstracts
Fed. University of Agriculture, Abeokuta
Adopting a Learner-Friendly Approach to Learners’ Speech Challenges
It has been established that the four communication skills are usually developed in graduation from listening to speaking, reading and then writing. However, it has also been observed in many language classes that the speaking skill has been grossly neglected despite its significance. While speech drills remain one of the traditional methods of teaching speech work and such means are quite repetitive; they need not become boring exercises neither should learners be over-stressed to achieve native-like pronunciation. In order to promote a learner or user-friendly environment in and out of the language classroom, there is a need to adopt the use of communicative approach to develop the speaking ability of learners. Such context would expose problematic sound segmental features of many Nigerian speakers and users of English language. It will further create opportunity for reduction of speech errors, while at the same time solve the growing challenge. This paper provides an examination of experiences with the adoption of Phillipa de Launay's exercises to create awareness of learner's problematic area and need for improvement with recommendation of practical suggestions for remediation.
Brinton, Donna, UCLA (retired)
Walk __ By: Raising Learner Consciousness About Unstressed Words
English belongs to the class of stress-timed languages, with stressed phrasal elements occurring at relatively regular intervals. Stress typically falls on content words (e.g., nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs) while all other elements of the phrase (e.g., articles, conjunctions, prepositions, particles) tend to be unstressed. These elements, known as function words, help to maintain the stressed-unstressed rhythmic pattern of English. While stressed elements are relatively easy for learners to hear, unstressed elements are much more difficult. Lack of knowledge about the stress-timed nature of English can lead to learner difficulties in comprehension; it also reinforces the tendency of learners from syllable-timed language backgrounds to place stress on the wrong elements of the phrase when speaking. This teaching tip involves the use of a song and a cloze passage activity to raise learner consciousness about the nature of stress timing in English. Handouts containing the song lyrics, the cloze passage, and a list of suggested songs will be provided.
Chan, Marsha, Mission College
Pronunciation is a physical act! Pronunciation Doctor's Pronunciation Workout is composed of many warm-up exercises. These warm-up exercises will help you become aware of your vocal apparatus and make your muscles stronger and more flexible. As you gain strength, flexibility, and speed, you can make your pronunciation movements more automatic. As you increase automaticity of movement and practice the other videos in this channel, you'll become more fluent in your spoken English!