Date of Graduation

Fall 12-15-2017

Document Type

Project/Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)

College/School

School of Education

First Advisor

Dr. Luz Navarrette Garcia

Abstract

Foreign accent, or the deviation from non-native speech, has a direct impact on communication and may even result in undesirable consequences for the speaker. Instead of perceiving statements as more difficult to understand, native speakers often perceive them as less trustworthy. However, the pronunciation of adult second language (L2) learners is extremely difficult to change, and L2 native-like pronunciation is rarely achieved after early childhood. The latest research suggests that explicit instruction about phonological awareness can contribute to better spoken comprehensibility even in adult L2 learners. There is a direct relationship between the L2 learners’ language awareness and the quality of L2 pronunciation. Following the Matthew effect, which is already known to apply to the development of reading skills (the more a child reads, the faster the reading skills will develop), researchers believe that the more L2 learners speak, the more attention they will pay to spoken input. By becoming more attentive to spoken input, L2 learners notice the ‘how and what’ of what native speakers actually say. This field project offers a “Handbook for German EFL Teachers” and exemplifies how phonological awareness can be raised while teaching two selected suprasegmental aspects of American English pronunciation: word stress and sentence stress.

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