The effects of explicit pronunciation instruction on the production of second language Spanish voiceless stops
a classroom study
Keywords:pronunciation instruction, instructed second language acquisition, language teaching
The present study examines the effectiveness of second language explicit pronunciation instruction of adult second language (L2) learners of Spanish in a classroom setting. This study seeks to shed light on the effectiveness of teaching pronunciation while considering the level of instruction of first, second and third year students. Eighty-three learners of Spanish as an L2 were recruited to participate in a control (n = 45) or experimental (n = 38) group. From the beginning to the end of a twelve-week semester, participants in the experimental condition received instruction on typically difficult segments in L2-Spanish for first language (L1) English speakers.
Pronunciation gains were measured acoustically by a word-reading task and the target structures were Spanish voiceless stops /p, t, k/. Results suggest that pronunciation instruction is beneficial to all voiceless stops. After a semester of instruction, the experimental group reduced their voice onset time (VOT) and reached native speakers' range, while no difference was observed in the control group. Additionally, instruction was beneficial at each curricular level, suggesting that pronunciation instruction should be part of the L2-Spanish curricular sequence at multiple levels. Results are discussed in terms of the theoretical, methodological and pedagogical implications of these findings and special emphasis is placed on the advantages of pronunciation instruction. A call is made for more teachers and practitioners to include pronunciation instruction in the L2-Spanish classroom.
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