Working on pronunciation – a comparison of two pronunciation training methods

Austria, ID CLEaR2015-253; 

L2 research confirms that phonology is the language skill in which it is most difficult to become highly proficient later in life. Yet foreign-accented speech can have an impact on comprehensibility and plays a vital role in successful communication (e.g. Derwing and Munro 1997). Inspite of the general consensus on the beneficial effect of pronunciation instruction, the question remains which approach proves most efficient in the language classroom. The present study tests two innovative pronunciation teaching methods with Austrian students of English. The first method has a strong auditory bias and aims at improving learners’ pronunciation by enhancing their perceptual skills. The second method additionally focuses on visualization of articulatory processes and graphic feedback on various aspects of pronunciation. In our presentation, results for the first method from previous experiments (in the form of native-speaker evaluations and acoustic measurements of vowel production) and students’ first reactions to the second method will be discussed. We will also focus on additional influencing factors such as the level of motivation elicited in the subjects by each method.

Key words: teaching methods, L2 learning/teaching, pronunciation training, foreign-accentedness